Brazil’s year-to-date (YTD) caustic soda production in January 2019 was 110,220 dry metric tons (dmt), a 19 percent increase compared with 92,690 dmt in January 2018, according to Abiclor, the country’s association of chlor-alkali industries.
The key caustic soda consuming sectors in Brazil are paper/cellulose, chemical/petrochemical, food/beverages, aluminum, and others.
The table below contains data from Brazil’s industry association Abiclor, noting that in January 2019, caustic soda domestic production rose while consumption declined, compared with 2018. The information from Abiclor is in dmt, and considers only domestic production:
In the aluminum sector, alumina refiner Alunorte continues to produce at 50 percent of capacity, and to consume caustic soda at the same decrease from normal rates.
Alunorte cut production from full rates after heavy rains in early 2018 raised concerns about leakage from retention ponds and potential contamination to surrounding areas. Alunorte has maintained that no leakage was found, but federal authorities still have not authorized Alunorte to return to full production.
US suppliers of caustic soda that was previously targeted to Alunorte continue to search for new destinations.
The following table with values from ClipperData show that caustic soda imports sourced from the US by Alunorte declined by 590,000 liquid metric tons in 2018 from 2017. Brazil’s total imports, however, declined only by 44,000 liquid metric tons for the same period.
Most caustic soda is sold and shipped as a 50 percent solution in water, while the price of the product is established by the solid caustic soda content in dmt. When the caustic soda solution is shipped in bulk in ships or in tanker trucks, the shipped volume is registered for the total including the water content.