Caustic soda apparent consumption up 5.5% in 2008, chlorine remains steady

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Brazil's apparent consumption of caustic soda increased 5.5% to 2.21Mt in 2008, while consumption of chlorine rose 0.5% to 1.24Mt, national association of chlorine producers Abiclor said in a statement.

Demand for chlorine suffered significantly in the final quarter of 2008 due to the global economic crisis and as a result the industry had to adjust output to the new consumption levels, according to Abiclor president Fernando Butze.

"Brazilian production of chlorine totaled some 316,000t per quarter last year. In the fourth quarter, production fell to 299,000t," Butze told BNamericas.

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The 100,000t of chlorine added to domestic production last year as a result of a capacity expansion by Brazilian chloralkali producer Carbocloro were not reflected in the sector's figures for the year because of the slowdown in the final quarter, Abiclor said.

In addition, Petroquímica União, which was incorporated by Brazilian petrochemical firm Quattor, shut down production for 60 days for maintenance works, forcing chloralkali producers to cut production as a result of a fall in supply of its main input, ethylene.

Brazil's chlorine industry's apparent consumption was steady in 2008, with the industry operating at 86.4% of installed capacity, down 2.7 percentage points from the year before.

Domestic production of caustic soda totaled 1.34Mt in 2008, inching up 0.6% compared to the year before, while imports increased 13.8% to 912,000t.