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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Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
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Caustic soda: Market overview
Updated to Q1 2015
Caustic soda producers are hopeful of higher prices in January and the first quarter on a global basis, based on the need to recoup lost margins in the chlorvinyls chain. Market tightness particularly in northwest Europe, following a spate of production issues, along with seasonal output cuts for downstream reasons is also a main driver for the firmer first-quarter price initiative in Europe.
By contrast, there is some expectation that the US caustic soda market is likely to lengthen into 2015, resulting from the possibility of higher chloralkali plant operating rates, which are likely to be driven by a surge in downstream polyvinyl chloride (PVC) demand, linked to US economic growth. Caustic soda is the co-product in chlorine production. However, US sellers are likely to try and counter any possible length in US caustic soda supply by selling competitively to alumina players or other large volume players in the export markets.
In Asia, prices softened throughout the fourth quarter of 2014 due to weak buying interest from southeast Asia and the need for northeast Asian producers to shift cargoes at the year-end. Some asian producers therefore expect to see a rebound in prices in 2015, as they no longer have pressure to sell. However, other producers feel that prices will only rebound after the Lunar New Year when caustic soda demand and end-user demand are expected to increase.
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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.