US April soda ash production falls 12.6% from March

13 June 2014 21:32 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US soda ash production fell 12.6% in April from March's 1.06m tonne/month pace, according to data released on Friday by the US Geological Survey (USGS).

March exports of 570,000 tonnes were down 2% from 581,000 tonnes in February, but up from 528,000 tonnes in March of 2013, according to the USGS data. For export statistics, March is the most recent month available.

The export numbers reflected 103,000 tonnes shipped to Brazil during the period, a strong showing for the US’s top overseas customer so far this year. Brazil may supplant Mexico as the US’s top customer in 2014, if current trends continue, according to the USGS data.

Brazil has taken 269,000 tonnes during the first quarter, compared with Mexico’s 259,000. Indonesia is No 3 at 211,000 tonnes for the first three months of the year.  

Domestic consumption of soda ash in January through March rose 3.5% to 1.17m tonnes from 1.13m tonnes during the first quarter of 2013, according to the USGS figures.

The increase in apparent domestic consumption is likely a positive indicator for the US economy, reflecting rising glass manufacturing, food processing and consumer soaps and detergents. It also counters a long-term trend of declining consumption based on consumer preferences and the movement of some heavy industrial processes moving overseas.

Top US producers include FMC Wyoming, Solvay North America, Tata Chemical (Soda Ash) North America, OCI Wyoming and Searles Valley Minerals.

US Soda Ash Exports

(in tonnes)

Jan 2014

Feb 2014

March 2014

Q1 2014

Total

588,000

581,000

570,000

+3.5%

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By Bill Bowen