Caustic soda Prices, markets & analysis
With a network of price reporters across Asia, Europe and the US, ICIS is fully equipped to keep you updated on everything that happens in the global Caustic soda market, whether you buy or sell Caustic soda or related products.
From daily and weekly reports containing price assessments obtained by our network of local reporters, to the news and analysis that put the market into focus, we provide the tools you need to make confident business decisions.
Caustic soda Overview Transcript
Caustic soda is an alkali which is produced along with chlorine. Its main uses are in the manufacture of pulp and paper, alumina production and soap and other detergents petroleum products and other chemical production. Other applications include water treatment, food, textiles, metal processing, mining and glass making
The key driver in the market often tends to be movements in the wider chlor-alkali chain as producers need to balance the electrochemical unit margins in order to make the business profitable.
The economy is also a key driver for caustic soda consumption but to a lesser extent than for chlorine. While pulp paper and alumina, are linked into the performance of the economy, other applications such as water treatment are more resistant to changes in GDP.
In Europe, industry body EuroChlor is implementing a phase out of mercury cell technology by 2020. Consolidation of some smaller less efficient facilities will be likely, as investment in the industry remains low.
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Caustic soda news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Caustic soda analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Caustic soda marketplace.
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Caustic soda: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2015
The European caustic soda market has a tendency to become tighter in the fourth quarter due to lower PVC production. Small and some moderate increases are therefore expected for the fourth-quarter contract price. Higher NWE/Med spot prices are also expected due to Mediterranean levels hitting the bottom of a trend and higher demand from the US due to turnaround season.
US caustic soda prices are expected to firm during the fourth quarter as almost all US producers opened fourth-quarter contract discussions with separate proposals for price increases. The moves come amid tight supply from a number of US plant maintenances, producers’ efforts to gain margin and larger export volumes. Any increase is likely be temporary unless North American production is further rationalised.
Domestic prices of liquid caustic soda in Latin America are expected to remain stable in the fourth quarter of 2015 amid abundant availability and high chlor-alkali operating rates in the US. However, the weak economy and corruption scandals in Brazil are driving down demand amid reduced alumina production. In other Latin American countries caustic soda business is mostly steady from key demand sectors.
Buyers were optimistic that Asian caustic soda prices for the rest of the year will mirror the fourth quarter of 2014, where prices steadily softened due to the availability of lower-priced Japanese products. Chinese producers could become more active in the export market if domestic prices continue to fall but South Korean producers stated that they would lower their chlor-alkali operation rates.
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Caustic Soda Methodology
About Caustic soda
Caustic soda is a white, deliquescent solid in various forms with no odour. It is very soluble in ethyl alcohol and water. It is a strong base, reacts violently with acid and is corrosive in moist air to metals like zinc, aluminium, tin and lead forming a combustible/explosive gas (hydrogen). It rapidly absorbs carbon dioxide and water from air while contact with moisture or water may generate heat.
Its main uses are in the manufacture of pulp and paper, alumina, soap and detergents, petroleum products and chemical production. Other applications include water treatment, food, textiles, metal processing, mining, glass making and others.
The production of alumina from bauxite is a major end-use application for caustic soda.
Caustic soda is a basic feedstock in the manufacture of a wide range of chemicals. It is used as an intermediate and a reactant in processes that produce solvents, plastics, synthetic fibres, bleach, adhesives, coatings, herbicides, dyes, inks and pharmaceuticals.
Other uses include the saponification or conversion of fat, tallow and vegetable oils in soap manufacture, and in the manufacture of surfactants for detergents. It is used in the petroleum and natural gas industries to remove acidic materials from hydrocarbons and off-gases. In the textile sector, it is used in the chemical processing of cotton and the dyeing of synthetic fibres.