The Important Share of Chlor-Alkali in the Overall US Salt Use
The US, chlor-alkali industry accounts for about a third of the countrie’s total salt consumption.
Weakness of the US Chlor-Alkali Industry in Past Quarters
Increasing interest rates and high inflation in the US, have dampened demand, especially for sectors related to construction. Materials like PVC have seen very limited growth this year so far and US chlorine production reflects this downturn. US housing starts were up in recent months, and chlorine production is expected to follow this trend.
The Disconnect of Chlor-Alkali Industry and the Overall Salt Market
Despite its large share in the overall market, the chlorine market has only little impact on the overall US salt market. By far the largest part of US chlor-alkali producers use salt in brine, and do not purchase crystalline salt.
The decreasing trend of the chlor-alkali industry is therefore not reflected in the results of a large US salt producer, i.e. Compass Minerals. Neither volumes, nor prices reflect the downward trend.
Reasons for the Upward Price Trend
The upward trends of prices for de-icing salt and industrial- and consumer salts reflect the global trend towards higher salt prices in past quarters. Increasing energy cost and inflation were driving production cost up, and also cost of transportation had gone up.