SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s Shandong Haitian Bio-Chemical reduced the operating rates at its 1.1m tonne/year soda ash plant at Changyi in Shandong province to 70-80% during the week ended 26 March, sources close to the company said on Wednesday.
Unspecified mechanical issues and prevailing weakness in the Chinese domestic soda ash market conditions were understood to be the factors for the reduced output at the plant, according to sources.
The duration of the reduced output was uncertain, depending on the soda ash market conditions, sources added.
Chinese domestic soda ash prices had declined in the past month as supply outstripped demand.
During the week ended 26 March, prices of dense grade soda ash were flat at yuan (CNY)1,600-1,700/tonne ($258-274/tonne) DEL (delivered) in the east but were overall down by CNY30-80/tonne from early March levels.
Prices of the same grade in the south declined by CNY20/tonne at CNY1,680-1,730/tonne DEL in the same week but showed a reduction of CNY100-120/tonne from early March levels.
Meanwhile, prices of light-grade soda ash in eastern China were flat at CNY1,290-1,430/tonne DEL during the week ended 26 March, but showed a CNY20-60/tonne reduction from early March levels.
Prices of the same grade in the south recovered this week by CNY20/tonne on the high end of the range at CNY1,400-1,500/tonne DEL, after losing CNY80/tonne from early March transaction levels.
Soda ash is primarily used in glassmaking, the manufacture of other inorganic chemicals, detergents, flue gas desulphurisation, water treatment and in pulp and paper manufacturing.
($1 = CNY6.20)