Inorganics news in brief

28 May 2012 00:00 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

US SODA ASH OUTPUT IN MARCH UP 16%
US natural soda ash production in March surged by 16% month on month, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reported. US production rose to 964,000 tonnes up from 833,000 tonnes in February. Ending inventories for March were up 4% to 317,000 tonnes. Wyoming trona production was 1.56m tonnes, according to USGS.

BRAZIL JAN-APR CAUSTIC SODA USE IS UP BY 2.7%
Brazil consumed 889,464 dry metric tonnes (dmt) of liquid caustic soda from January to April this year, up by 2.7% from the same period in 2011, according to the country's chlor-alkali industry association Abiclor. Domestic production was 474,353 dmt, up by 7.7% from the year-ago period. Imports were down by 2.7% to 422,920 dmt. Brazil caustic soda demand remained healthy despite a slower economy, sources said.

US MARCH CHLORINATED SOLVENTS EXPORTS UP
Total US exports of chlorinated solvents methylene chloride, perchloroethylene (perc) and trichloroethylene (TCE) in March were up by 6.3% year on year to 12,770 tonnes compared to last year, according to data from the US International Trade Commission. TCE and perc each showed gains while methylene chloride export volumes fell. Month on month, exports of the solvents increased by 64%.

WESTLAKE'S VCM UNIT IN FULL OPERATION
US-based Westlake Chemical's vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) unit at its Geismar, Louisiana, complex has been safely repaired and restarted, and now in full operation following an explosion and fire in March. Westlake said it is working with its customers and suppliers to mitigate the impact and to meet their needs as production resumes.

By Doris de Guzman