Our Caustic Soda reports are published weekly in Asia, China, Europe, Latin America and the US, giving industry participants a truly global view of market movements.
There are solid and liquid spot quotations, depending on the region, and market news including information on shipping, international trade, upstream and downstream movements, as well as production issues. This analysis and intelligence equips you with the information you need to make vital business assessments.
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: Market overview
Updated to Q1 2017
US liquid caustic soda will continue to capitalise on global production capacity reductions and boost exports, as chlorine production in the US ticks higher to meet greater demand for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) demand from domestic construction activity. US liquid caustic soda export volumes appear likely to finish 2016 higher by 22%.
The European market is expected to remain tight in the first quarter of 2017 due to a combination of the conversion process at Kem One’s Lavera plant, a long-running shutdown at Akzo Nobel’s Rotterdam plant and relatively little availability from outside sources. The weak euro versus the US dollar is expected to give good export opportunities to dollar-using markets.
The Latin America market is projected as steady but soft in the face of ailing economies in South America. Troubled major economies of Brazil and Argentina are expected to recover gradually in 2017, improving the demand outlook for this year. Caustic soda prices had risen in Mexico in the last quarter of 2016, driven by higher prices and tightening supply in the US. Prices had also increased in Argentina on higher production costs after subsidies on energy were removed.
The Asia market is expected to be a seller’s market for most of the first quarter due to limited volumes being offered from northeast Asian producers. South Korean producers had limited volumes due to a plant turnaround and a debottlenecking project, while Chinese chlor-alkali operating rates had been persistently low due to weak chlorine demand around the Lunar New Year holidays.
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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.