Mercury cell phase-out impact overrated on caustic, underrated on PVC

The future of the European chloralkali market is becoming clear, as the majority of mercury cell producers have announced whether they will close or convert their capacity. With this bugbear of the European caustic soda market now fading into the background, the question now becomes: what will be the impact on chloralkali producers and their downstream markets? Analysis suggests that higher run rates could be possible in the caustic soda market in order to maintain a balanced situation, albeit at the cost of exports, whilst feedstocks are likely to become a bottleneck for PVC from 2017 onwards. This counterintuitive scenario suggests interesting challenges and possibilities going forward.

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