Asian sorbitol up $20/t to year high ahead of Chinese new year

07 January 2010 05:50  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Asian sorbitol price has risen $20/tonne (€14/tonne) to hit a one year-high of $520-540/tonne on the back of strong seasonal demand ahead of the Chinese new year and high feedstock costs, market sources said on Thursday.

Sorbitol prices were assessed on a (free on board) FOB SE (south east) Asia basis.

Sorbitol is a sugar substitute used in food, toothpaste and pharmaceuticals. Seasonal demand for sorbitol from the food sector was up, with artificial fish paste (surimi) and sweetener makers ramping up production for Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on 14 February.

Demand for surimi - used in making crab sticks - and sweets goes up in Asia during Chinese new year festivities.

Thailand, a major regional exporter of sorbitol, was forced to raise offers for January in response to higher domestic feedstock tapioca prices.

Tapioca had increased week on week to $0.40/kg as a result of a poor harvest this season due to mealy bug infestation, a Thai sorbitol producer said.

“Tapioca increased sharply, causing production problems,” he added.

Sellers expected sorbitol prices to continue rising in the coming weeks due to the continued tight supply and higher demand.

($1 = €0.69)

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By: Serena Seng

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