The Caustic Soda Prices Consolidating Globally Toward the End of November 2023
- 29-Nov-2023 4:22 PM
- Journalist: Stella Fernandes
The Caustic Soda prices in the global market exhibited stability towards the conclusion of November 2023, as the market players were cautious about the downstream demand in the Alumina industry in the highly supplied market. The result of a weakening of economic activity challenged the trading activities in the EU's Caustic Soda industry and ultimately led to low margins and an oversupplied market. Meanwhile, tightening production rates amidst an escalation in electricity costs also imposed northward cost pressure on the US Caustic Soda market players for now. However, the Asian prices were still on hold in line with the high-supplied market.
In a recent analysis, the price of Caustic Soda has maintained stability over the week ending November 24, 2023, in the Asian market amidst a notable increase in production and subdued downstream purchases. The Caustic Soda price momentum was primarily reflective of demand-driven dynamics, and the purchasing enthusiasm remained moderate this week. Despite the stable pricing, the market saw a cautious approach from downstream participants, possibly influenced by the prevailing high input prices. The regional market is poised to respond to shifts in supply and demand dynamics, and the cautious approach observed in recent days may continue as the enterprises navigate the changing procurement landscape of the Caustic Soda market.
The European and US Caustic Soda prices also displayed an unchanged trajectory in the terminating week of November 2023 due to high input costs with increased energy prices despite slow demand fundamentals. The recent price stagnation resulted from the constrained supply and reduced production run rates amidst high operational costs and inadequate downstream market movement. Additionally, Kem One, a key player in the chemical industry, has strategically opted to pause operations at its chlorine and Caustic Soda production facilities in France temporarily. Kem One has a significant presence in the French chemical industry, characterized by two primary production facilities. The initial facility in Lavera has an annual production capacity of 341,382 tonnes of chlorine and 333,373 tonnes of Caustic Soda. The second facility in Fos boasts an even larger capacity, producing 635,710 tonnes of chlorine and a substantial 2,202,200 tonnes of Caustic Soda annually. Consequently, the market players were concerned about the lack of recovery in demand, and the existing market dynamics are presenting significant challenges to the profit margins of European producers. Therefore, the European and US market participants opted to reduce production rates to sustain their margins in the line of uncertainty in the downstream procurement enthusiasm and slowed economic conditions.
As per ChemAnalyst, the global prices of Caustic Soda could stabilize in the upcoming months due to minor changes in demand and limited supply. Challenges in production rates are anticipated to persist globally, especially with the anticipated rise in winter electricity costs. Moreover, as per the latest analysis, US chemical volumes are likely to rebound in 2024 as inventories are depleted marginally, and destocking is predominantly carried out throughout the majority of value chains in the last quarter of the year.