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Japans caustic soda prices soared due to soaring export rates

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Japans caustic soda prices soared due to soaring export rates

Date of release:2019-02-19 Author: Click:

Soda producer Tokyo Nippon Chemical Group will increase the price of caustic soda and caustic soda used in various other industries by 30-40% to meet the needs of Asian countries for multi-functional chemicals.

On Monday, Japanese companies began negotiations with key customers, including paper makers and steelmakers, to raise December's 18 yen (16 cents) per kilogram from around 60 yen today. As of mid-November, the export price of caustic soda in Asia had risen by about 10%, nearly doubling year-on-year, and about 50% higher than that in Japan.

A representative of Asahi Glass said: "Profits to Asia are rising - there is no point in keeping the price gap going on. The company is Japan's second largest chemical producer, also known as lye, with a capacity of 600,000 tons, accounting for 20% of the domestic market.

Domestic demand for caustic soda has further increased the price of caustic soda. Large demand from buyers in Africa and Asia has made the caustic soda market active, including superabsorbent polymers made from caustic soda. The chemical is also used to refine aluminium, which automakers use to make lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

According to data from Japan Soda Industry Association, the overall demand for caustic soda in Japan reached 2.53 million tons in the nine months to September, an increase of 4% over the same period last year. Production increased by only 3%. A representative of Nixu said that "many manufacturers" are approaching full-load production, and it is likely that it will be difficult to further improve the start-up rate.

In May, Nitro Xu, Xinyue Chemical Company and Kaneka Company increased their prices by 10-20% per kilogram. But since then, export prices have jumped nearly 40% again.

Whether small chemical manufacturers will follow Asahi Glass and other heavyweight brands is an open question, as persuading customers to accept price increases may be a challenge.

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