The soda ash markets are reported weekly by ICIS in an Asia report and a global report. Both reports cover the dense and light grades, though Asia tends to focus in spot, while Europe and the US have contract prices.
This market news and analysis gives intelligence on market overviews, graphs, production data, freight rates and any other key factors influencing the market and prices at the time of pbulication. Whether you are buying or selling soda ash this useful business tool will give you confidence to make decisions about the market.
Our editor gives their expert view
Soda Ash Overview Transcript
Soda ash or sodium carbonate is non-combustible and non-toxic. It is produced predominantly by one of two major routes. The longest established method is synthetic chemical process known as the Solvay ammonia soda process. The second is by the treatment of naturally mined Trona ores.
Soda ash is mainly used in the production of glass, which accounts for around half of global consumption.
Other significant applications are in the soaps and detergents and chemical industries.
The dense grade is used mainly for making glass, while the light grade is used in the detergents and soaps industry.
The Asia soda ash market is generally quite slow moving. The main suppliers to the Asia market are China, the US, and Indian producers
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Soda ash: Market overview
Updated to Q1 2017
Soda ash prices China rose at the start of 2017, amid tight supply. Chinese producers focused on supplying to the domestic market and offer scant supply for export. As a result, Chinese cargoes are largely unavailable in Asia outside China and Asian spot prices have also increased. A deep sea cargo supplier increased its offers to Asia for Q1 2017 by $15-20/tonne and has fully allocated its supply. The market is expected to be stable till the Lunar New Year, after which market players expect a price correction. Prices are expected to decrease as on weaker Chinese demand as buyers have ample inventory from previous stocking up activities.
The US natural soda ash market outlook remains positive from slightly increased production from trona mines in Wyoming. Demand for natural US soda in Asia is expected to increase this quarter due to a supply crunch in Asia. As a result, some US producers are taking advantage of an arbitrage situation to ship soda ash to Asian markets. As 2016 ended, US soda ash annual contracts were not fully assessed for 2017, but should be finalised in January 2017. Some prices for soda ash were heard to decrease by $5-6/tonne, whilst some prices were heard to increase by $5-10/tonne due to Asia’s supply crunch.
European soda ash is mostly traded on an annual contract basis, with contract negotiations typically happening in the fourth quarter of the year. At the start of January, the price direction of 2017 contracts is unclear. On one hand, increased capacity due to the opening of a Turkish plant in 2017 led some players to say that European prices should drop. On the other hand, higher energy costs are expected to increase the product’s value.
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Soda Ash Methodology
About Soda ash
Soda ash (sodium carbonate) is a white powder with no odour. It is stable and is not flammable, explosive or toxic. It is friable and slightly hygroscopic. Dust is slightly irritating to the eyes, mucous membranes and respiratory tract.
Soda ash is produced mainly by two routes. The longest established method is the synthetic chemical process known as the Solvay ammonia-soda process. The second method is by the treatment of naturally mined trona ores.
The main use for soda ash is the production of glass. It is also used in industrial chemicals and detergents. The remainder is used in applications including pulp and paper, water treatment and flue gas desulphurisation.