Asia fatty alcohol makers decry Europe’s anti-dumping probe

20 August 2010 08:51  [Source: ICIS news]

By Serena Seng

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asian fatty alcohols producers find no grounds for a probe launched on possible dumping of various grades of the oleochemical products into Europe, industry sources said on Friday.

“I doubt there are any justifications to this investigation. Fatty alcohol producers in Asia are enjoying good margins now,” said a Singapore-based trader.

Despite rising feedstock costs margins were good as fatty alcohol prices in southeast Asia were high, traders said.

Prices of fatty alcohols C12-14 blended were at $1,950–2,000/tonne (€1,521–1,560/tonne) FOB (free on board) southeast (SE) Asia on 18 August - at historical highs - and C16-18 blended was settled at $1,400–1,450/tonne FOB SE Asia, ICIS data showed.

Fatty alcohol demand within the region was stable so there was no reason for producers to “dump” it in Europe, a trader based in Asia added.

The European Commission has launched an investigation of the possible dumping from India, Indonesia and Malaysia, following complaints that several Asian producers were offering material at below cost, according to a statement by the European Union (EU) on 13 August.

The complaints were filed by specialty chemical supplier Cognis and integrated energy and chemical company Sasol Olefins & Surfactants, said the statement.

India exported some 19,357 tonnes of fatty alcohols into the EU in 2009, while Indonesia shipped around 38,127 tonnes and Malaysia exported about 93,092 tonnes to that region, based on official statistics from the European Commission.

In 2008, the three countries exported a combined total of 160,495 tonnes of fatty alcohols to the EU, around 6% more than that of 2009, according to the same data.

However, the latest 2010 figures were not available at the EC website.

Some players felt that the European Commission investigation could be good news for the market, as fatty alcohol producers would be more cautious with their pricing strategies during that period.

“If the allegations are proven true, it would be a good thing, as less material would be sold to Europe and there would be more supply in Asia. Prices would then come down,” said a trader based in Malaysia.

The European Commission investigation was scheduled to conclude in November 2011 and hence traders said that there would be no immediate impact on the market in the meantime.

“Demand and supply fundamentals in Asia are unlikely to be affected, as the results will only be known next year,” said the Singapore-based trader.

Fatty alcohols are used in a variety of industrial applications including detergents/surfactants, and to form ethoxylators to manufacture alcohol ethoxylates used in a variety of lubricating/cleaning industries. 

($1 = €0.78)

For more on oleochemicals, visit ICIS chemical intelligence 
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry, go to ICIS connect

By: Serena Seng

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