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
The global chlor-alkali market, including that for caustic soda, remained uncertain in mid-2013, given continuing volatility in Europe, a less-than-robust recovery in the US and bearish market sentiment in Asia.
However, there have been growing signs of a sustained recovery in the US home construction industry, which bodes well for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) demand, a downstream derivative of the electrolysis process that creates chlorine and caustic soda.
In chlor-alkali processing, 1.1 tonnes of caustic soda is produced for every tonne of chlorine. Therefore, more demand for PVC would mean increased production of caustic soda.
Since late 2013, US suppliers have been trying to implement price increases, saying that supply has been snug because of a series of planned and unplanned outages, as well as logistical issues in the northeast US and along the Mississippi river system. One round of price initiatives met limited success, and producers recently announced a new one. Moreover, demand is steady, if not robust, across most consumer segments, buyers have said.
In Asia, volatile chlorine prices in the key Chinese market and declining caustic soda prices have resulted in squeezed margins for regional producers. As a result, producers in northeast Asia have been trying to raise their prices to recoup losses incurred from both the chlorine and caustic soda markets.
Buyers, however, have met the price initiatives with some resistance. In particular, large buyers, such as those in the alumina industry, have said that their demand is down and have announced their intention to curtail their own production. The monsoon season and Eid ul-Fitr holiday in some parts of Asia during the past months have also weighed on buying interest.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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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.