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Japan: soda ash import requirement rises

A shortfall in local production means that Japanese soda ash imports are increasing steadily. Figures for April-September 2000, showed a rise of more than 10% on the previous fiscal half-year import t…

A shortfall in local production means that Japanese soda ash imports are increasing steadily. Figures for April-September 2000, showed a rise of more than 10% on the previous fiscal half-year import total. Imports thus accounted for 36.6% of the overall requirement during the period. Production for the period fell below 350,000 tons and, for the full year, seems likely to fall short of 700,000 tons. With Asahi Glass having decided to cease producing soda ash in Japan from the end of March 2001, import dependency is set to increase. According to Japan Soda Industry Association records, first-half soda ash deliveries, at 510,700 tons, were down by 2.1% on the same period a year earlier. However, the breakdown reveals contrasting trends, with production down by 8.8% to 323,900 tons and imports, principally of trona (natural) ash from the United States, up 12.1% to 186,800 tons.

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