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 Q3 2015
Caustic soda prices are expected to remain stable in the US, Asia and Latin America on the back of ample supply, while prices may fall in Europe as demand softens.
Caustic soda prices are stable-to-soft in the European spot market, although a number of producers still anticipate contract price increases for the third quarter (Q3). Demand is expected to drop in Q3 as the market enters the summer holiday season, particularly in the south of Europe.
The US liquid caustic soda market enters Q3 with a growing sentiment of lengthening supply and soft prices on new production capacity added last year. Export business is likely to continue at recent high volumes of 200,000-250,000 dry metric tonnes (dmt)/month with US spot exports prices hovering near a five-year low. Domestic contract prices are also expected by market players to lower incrementally until October.
Northeast Asia export prices were stagnant for much of Q2 and most players expect this trend to continue into Q3. Caustic soda supply is expected to improve as Japanese producers start offering spot parcels, and Chinese producers turn their attention from the domestic market to the export market. Demand from the US West Coast and India is expected to remain weak, but this could be offset demand from Australian alumina producers.
Domestic prices of liquid caustic soda in Latin America are expected to remain stable in the third quarter of 2015 amid abundant availability and high chlor-alkali operating rates in the US. However, the weak economy in Brazil is driving down demand amid reduced alumina production and projections of declining GDP growth. In other Latin American countries, caustic soda business is mostly steady from key demand sectors, mainly paper/pulp and soaps/detergents.
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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.