HOUSTON (ICIS)--US March exports of liquid caustic soda doubled February’s as shipments to Brazil took a quantum leap and several export markets posted gains, according to data released Friday by the US International Trade Commission (ITC).
But exports remained down for the year and imports rose as US producers have increased prices and brought competition from foreign suppliers, the ITC figures show.
Brazil took 186,140 lmt during the month, tripling the amount shipped to the second-largest market, Jamaica, which took 52,815 lmt, the ITC figures reveal.
Australia, Suriname, Canada, Chile, Ireland and Mexico took similar volumes to round out the roster of top markets, according to the ITC.
Regarding impors, Taiwan is the biggest gainer in selling to the US market, bringing 97,066 lmt in the first quarter compared to 16,062 tonnes in first quarter 2014.
The US remains a net exporter, shipping three times the volume that foreign suppliers sell into the US. But the trend so far this year is for lower exports and rising imports.
Major US producers of caustic soda include Axiall, Dow Chemical, Formosa Plastics, Shintech, OxyChem, Olin and Westlake Chemical.
?xml:namespace> March '14 March ’13 % chg YTD'13 YTD '14 %chg Caustic exports in tonnes 477,341 416,763 14.5 1.14m 1.09 -4% Caustic imports in tonnes 87,244 94,836 -8% 245,254 319,081 30
Caustic exports in tonnes
Caustic imports in tonnes