US 2011 sorbitol contracts jump 15%, tracking higher corn prices

04 January 2011 17:05  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Contracts for 2011 for sorbitol and other sugar alcohols settled at average increases of 15%, sources said on Tuesday, tracking feedstock corn futures trading sharply higher from year-ago levels.

Liquid sorbitol contracts for all 2011 deliveries settled in a range of 32.28-37.09 cents/lb ($712-818/mt, €534-613mt) FOB (free on board) ex-plant.

Contracts for crystal sorbitol settled nearly 12 cents/lb higher than a year ago at 89.13-98.33 cents/lb.

Corn futures at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for 2011 were trading in a range of $5.50-6.30/bushel, up from the $4.00-4.50/bushel range that was used to settle 2010 contracts.

Contract prices for other sugar alcohols such as maltitol and xylitol settled at similar 15% increases at levels ranging from $1,450-$1,630/mt.

Maltitol and xylitol prices are higher because their use is restricted to food applications.

In addition to being used by the food industry, sorbitol has a number of industrial applications such as use as an alternative in the manufacture of biodegradable plastics.

Moreover, growth in 2011 for the use of sorbitol in consumer items such as toothpaste and unsweetened gum is expected to keep pace with modest growth in the overall US economy, a source said.

A factor that might spur an increase in sorbitol use is the rising price of crude oil, which could prompt manufacturers to employ alternatives to petrochemicals in some applications, a sorbitol producer said.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Frank Zaworski
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