Asia Feb sorbitol prices seen steady as high demand declines

11 February 2011 06:27  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia sorbitol prices are expected to remain steady in February as high seasonal demand for the material ahead of regional holidays and festivals has now declined, a trader said on Friday.

Prices were assessed to be stable at $650-700/tonne (€481-518/tonne) FOB (free on board) SE (southeast) Asia on 10 February from the previous month, according to data from ICIS. Most industry sources said they did not expect prices to change much during the rest of the month.

Prices of feedstock tapioca - steady now - could be volatile later in February due to acute tapioca shortages in Indonesia and Thailand from bad weather conditions, traders said.

But this was unlikely to impact the prices of sorbitol as monthly contracts had already been settled, an Indonesian producer said. 

Any volatility in tapioca feedstock prices in February would only impact March sorbitol cargo prices, the producer added.

Feedstock tapioca prices in Thailand were stable at Thai baht (Bt) 26/kg ($0.84/kg), unchanged from January. Likewise, tapioca prices in Indonesia were also steady at Indonesian rupiah (Rp) 5,800-6,000/kg ($0.65-0.67/kg) from January.

February was a lull season for sorbitol in Asia with little movements in cargoes as inventories were shored during the last one to two months of the fourth quarter of 2010 due to increased demand of the material - used for artificial sweetener - ahead of the regional Christmas and Chinese New Year holidays, a Thai producer said.

($1 = €0.74/ $1 = Bt30.83/ $1 =  Rp8,930)

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By: Serena Seng

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