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.
Updated to Q3 2018
Expensive electricity rates in South Korea and Taiwan, along with the ample supply situation in southeast Asia, might cause northeast Asian producers to consider lowering their chlor-alkali operating rates. However, the return of Japanese and South Korean producers from the June turnaround season is expected to increase regional supply.
Downstream demand is expected to pick up in southeast Asia as buyers return from the long Ramadan holidays. In northeast Asia, demand is expected to remain stable in Japan and South Korea. However, ongoing environmental checks in Tianjin and Jiangsu are expected to stymie domestic demand in China.
European caustic soda supply is likely to be lower in the third quarter because of falling price levels in import markets. Contract and spot prices in Europe have fallen in the second quarter and for Mediterranean exports, are down more than 26% since the beginning of 2018. This makes Europe a less attractive destination for imports.
European caustic soda demand is likely to be somewhat higher in July, then decrease in August in line with typical seasonal trends. August is a holiday period in most of Europe, which results in lower commercial activity. Utilisation is also expected to rise which will help balance the market in July.
The regional supply outlook for caustic soda in Latin America for the third quarter of 2018 points to ample availability. Regional chlor-alkali production plants are operating normally, particularly after the restart of Braskem’s chlor-alkali plant in Maceio, Brazil, while alumina refiner Alunorte continues with reduced production and caustic soda consumption rates.
The demand outlook for caustic soda in Latin America for the third quarter of 2018 is of continued steady consumption from paper/pulp and soaps/detergents, but reduced off-take from alumina because of issues at Alunorte in Brazil. It remains unclear when Alunorte’s alumina production will return to normal from the current 50%.
US liquid caustic soda supply during the third quarter is expected to remain relatively stable as the downstream outage at an alumina refinery will continue to leave surplus material in the US Gulf. Producers, following usual practice, will work to export any excess material to prevent the US market from becoming oversupplied.
Third quarter demand is expected to remain steady-to-firm on seasonal factors, such as that for water treatment and pulp and paper manufacturing. Chemical processing and steel production are also expected to contribute to a constant demand pull. Alumina production continues to increase its demand growth as well.
We offer the following regional Caustic soda analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Caustic soda marketplace.
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Caustic soda, with its co-product chlorine, is produced via an electrolysis of brine, in the ratio of one part chlorine to 1.1 parts 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.