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 Q4 2018
European caustic soda availability is expected to be stable or lower in quarter four compared to quarter three. Planned and unplanned shutdowns have reduced the caustic soda availability later in the third quarter, with the market also expected to tighten in early 2019 as a result of more shutdowns. Very early price expectations for the fourth quarter are stable or higher than in quarter three although the majority of negotiations have yet to begin.
European caustic soda demand is expected to fall in the fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter as a result of the seasonal quietness in late November and early December due to holidays. Recent Eurozone manufacturing outlooks have also become more pessimistic as a result of uncertainty caused by the trade war between the US and various other countries.
The regional supply outlook in Latin America points to continuing abundant availability for the fourth quarter of 2018, particularly because of the ongoing reduced production at Brazil’ alumina refiner Alunorte. Caustic soda production and supply are expected to remain stable at current levels for the fourth quarter, but possibly softening somewhat for the end of the year inventory reduction.
The fourth quarter demand outlook points to steady business, continuing with the third quarter trend. Although authorities have authorised Brazil’s Alunorte to resume full rates, it remains unclear when the company will raise production from the current 50%. Various caustic soda consuming sectors are not expected to modify demand, except possibly for the seasonal inventory reduction at year-end.
October is the traditional season for maintenance outages and this year it is expected to be lighter than most years, but some production will be lost during the quarter. Supply is expected to slim slightly.
Fourth quarter demand is expected to fall off as water treatment season ends with the arrival of cold weather.
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.
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.
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