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North Africa caustic soda supplies normalising

February 08/2011

(ICIS) -- Caustic soda supply in northern Africa is returning to normal despite ongoing protests in Egypt, which is the predominant producer for the region, sources said on Tuesday. There are two major producers of caustic soda in Egypt, TCI Sanmar and Egyptian Petrochemical Company (EPC).


TCI Sanmars 200,000 tonne/year caustic soda plant at South Port Said was in the restart process, and would be back to normal operations by the weekend of 12-13 February, a company source said. The company had shut the plant on 29 January after riots in the local area made it impossible to operate.


EPC has resumed deliveries of caustic soda following a relaxation of delivery restrictions, a company source said. Material is being booked for the next few days, the source added.


The Egyptian army had blocked transport links, preventing shipments of material from 2 February. Deliveries were now being allowed from 06:00 to 20:00 local time, which the source said was a return to normal operations.


The effective closure of the caustic soda market during the protests had caused a short-term spike in northern African caustic soda prices, as players looked to cover short-term volumes during the uncertainty.


However, prices had now returned to $380-440/tonne FOB (free on board) northern Africa, in line with prices prior to the supply disruption.


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