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Formosa Plastics to raise US caustic soda prices

Houston — Formosa Plastics has joined the wave of petrochemical producers announcing US price increases for caustic soda, according to a letter to customers obtained by S&P Global Platts.

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The letter dated February 26 informed customers of the decision by Formosa Plastics, the US arm of Formosa Taiwan, to increase domestic prices by $85/st, effective immediately or as contracts permit.

Four other US caustic soda producers have already announced similar price increases this month. OxyChem, Olin and Shintech each said they would raise US prices by $85/st, while Westlake Chemical announced a smaller increase of $40/st in the US.

The increases apply to all grades of caustic soda. Formosa and Shintech produce only membrane-grade, which has lower levels of impurities such as salt and iron than diaphragm-grade. Oxy, Olin and Westlake produce both grades.

This month's announcements are in addition to caustic soda price increases announced by all five producers last November that ranged from $70-$115/st, depending on the grade.

Those increases brought domestic pricing in line with export pricing, which had reached a premium of about $75/mt in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey's landfall on the Texas Coast in August.

--Kristen Hays, kristen.hays@spglobal.com
--Edited by Jonathan Loades-Carter, jonathan.carter@spglobal.com