IHS Expects China to Drive Soda Ash Market

Soda ash is a basic chemical product essential for glass production and other industrial uses. Despite lingering weakness in many soda ash markets, developing economies -- including China and India -- are driving demand growth and fueling market volatility for soda ash, according to a report by IHS.

IHS is hosting the Soda Ash Technology Training Workshop Sept. 30 and the IHS Chemical World Soda Ash Business Outlook briefing Oct. 1 at the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus in Budapest. 

Despite a global oversupply, world demand for soda ash totaled an estimated 54 million metric tons (MMT) in 2012, and is projected to increase almost 75 MMT by 2022, according to the IHS report. This reflects a nearly a 40 percent increase in volume. The study covers historical developments and future projections for supply, demand, capacity and trade in the global soda ash markets for 2007 to 2017.

“On a global basis, capacity is considerably in excess of demand,” said Marguerite Morrin, director, Global Soda Ash Services at IHS Chemical and one of the authors of the annual study.  “However, since much of the overcapacity is in China and high costs prohibit any real surge in exports, much of the excess capacity in China is, in effect, stranded. Due to the global cost disparities, relative production costs will be a key issue for the soda ash industry in the future. We will explore this more fully during the business briefing in Budapest.”

Glass is the dominant end use for soda ash, accounting for more than half of global demand at 52 percent. Detergents account for 14 percent of global soda ash demand followed by chemical production at nine percent, production of alumina and metals and mining at six percent, and pulp and paper at one percent. Remaining demand is attributable to other uses, including environmental applications, such as effluent treatment and in acid-waste reduction.

To view the current agenda for the IHS World Soda Ash Business Outlook 2013 or to register for the event, visit www.ihs.com/sodaash2013.

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