Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chemical and Material Shortage Alerts – January 2014

The purpose of this blog is to identify chemical and material shortages reported on the Internet.  The sources of the information reported here are primarily news releases issued on the Internet.  The issue period of the news releases is January, 2014.

Section I below lists those chemicals and materials that were on previous Chemical and Material Shortage Alerts lists and continue to have news releases indicating they are in short supply. Click here to read the December 2013 Chemical and Material Shortage Alerts list.

Section II lists the new chemicals and materials (not on the December alert).  Also provided is some explanation for the shortage and, when appropriate, geographical information.  This blog attempts to list only actual shortages situations – those shortages that are being experienced during the period covered by the news release.   Chemicals and materials identified in news releases as only being in danger of being in short supply status are not listed.

Section I.   Chemicals and materials that continue from December to be reported as in short supply are: iron ore.  See the December alert (click here) for explanations for the shortages and for geographical information.

Section II.   Shortages Reported in January not found on the Previous Month’s List

Bauxite.  A shortage of bauxite, needed for producing aluminum, was reported in India.  Apparently government regulations are restraining bauxite mining.

Construction Materials.  Shortages of construction materials were reported in January in several areas: southwest Florida; the United Kingdom; and Malaysia.  Increased construction activity in these areas is exceeding supplies.

Natural Gas.  Natural gas shortages were reported in southern France. Apparently, suppliers were getting much higher prices from exports to Asia, limiting supplies to southern France.

Newsprint.  Reports out of Venezuela indicate a shortage of newsprint, due to government restrictions on imports.

Para xylene.  China is experiencing a shortage of para xylene due to increased demand not being met by available internal production and insufficient imports.

Petro feed stocks.  A methanol production plant in Malaysia reported a petro feedstock problem due to a supplier’s production shutdown.  A methanol production plant in Iran is also limiting its production due to gas feedstock shortages.

Propane.  Propane shortages hit the Midwest and other areas of the United States because of high demand in these areas due to extremely cold weather.   Local supplies could not keep up with the demand, and shipments from into the areas were hindered due to government regulations.

Reasons for Section II shortages can be broadly categorized as: 

1.  Mining not keeping up with demand: none
2.  Production not keeping up with demand: construction materials
3.  Government regulations: bauxite; newsprint; propane;
4.  Sources no longer available: natural gas; petro feedstock
5.  Insufficient imports:  para xylene

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