Economic downturn stops recovery of the European chlor-alkali markets

The European chlor-alkali industry had just started to recover from the drastic decline following the energy price shock. Chlorine production increased in January and February, but re-decreased in March and April with the downturn of the European chemical industry. 

Source: European Central Bank (ECB)

In 2020 and 2021, average monthly production of chlorine was around 800 thousand tonnes. Production volumes decreased to just over 500 thousand tonnes in December 2022.  After a short recovery, production re-declined to about 600 thousand tonnes in recent months. Chlorine production losses of 200 thousand tonnes per month compared to volumes of previous years, reduce the monthly salt consumption of the European chemical industry by 300 thousand tonnes. This represents a 10% decrease of the overall European salt consumption.

Source: Eurochlor

The salt price had gone up significantly, following the drastic increase of energy prices, freight rates, and cost of production. With the decline of these cost factors, and a significantly lower demand, high prices have come under pressure.

Source: Quarterly Reports K+S, (Calculated from revenues and volumes, industrial salts include primarily NaCl, also smaller volumes of MgCl2 and industrial uses of KCl)

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