Caustic Soda Global Trade in the First Quarter of 2020

Heavy exports from North America to Latin America, increased exports from Western Europe to various markets but lower imports into the region, and, much lower shipments out of the Middle East and Asia-Pacific were prominent trends.

Global trade volume of 4.5 million tons of caustic soda in aqueous solution in the first quarter was up 3% from the same period in 2019, based on latest available statistics. The impact of the pandemic will be more evident in the months ahead as some end use applications for caustic soda see increased demand, such as paper for personal protective equipment, and soaps and detergents, but other areas are negatively affected, including alumina production, chemicals and textiles.

North America (US) exported 1.2 million tons of caustic soda in the first quarter, up 15% from the first quarter of 2019. Exports to Brazil surged (see blog May 14, 2020).

Western Europe exported 190,000 tons of caustic soda, up 77% on much higher volumes to Turkey (see blog May 18, 2020), and gains to United States and UAE. Imports into Western Europe dropped 36%, to 217,000 tons, as supplies from Asia-Pacific and the Middle East dwindled.

From International Trader Publications’ Caustic Soda in Aqueous Solution World Trade Report, a continuously updated online analysis of global trade.