US fatty alcohol Q2 contracts spike on tight supply

06 April 2011 21:43  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Second-quarter contract settlements for fatty alcohols spiked up because of ongoing tight supply, buyers said on Wednesday.

Mid-cut detergent alcohols in the C12-14 and C12-16 ranges were assessed at 170-195 cents/lb ($3,748-4,299/tonne, €2,624-3,009/tonne) in second-quarter contract settlements. The assessment included synthetic alcohols of the same range.

Second-quarter prices for the mid-cuts represented a double-digit increase from the first quarter, which was assessed at 125-155 cents/lb.

The strength of the increases achieved in the second quarter fell squarely upon the supply factor, as buyers said securing requirements to meet quarterly obligations has been difficult.

Underpinning tight supply were several plant turnarounds and unplanned downtime in Asia.

The US is a net importer of fatty alcohols, with Asia the main supplier because of its proximity to primary vegetable oil feedstocks.

Heavy-chain alcohol contracts in the C16-18 range were assessed at 120-130 cents/lb, up about 10 cents/lb from the first quarter on the same supply basis as the mid-cuts.

Domestic US natural fatty alcohol producers include Procter & Gamble and Cognis.

Shell and Sasol are domestic synthetic fatty alcohol producers, while importers include VVF, Kao and Ecogreen.

Fatty alcohols are used to make home and industrial surfactants and are key ingredients in personal-care and cosmetics products.

($1 = €0.70)

By: Judith Taylor
+1 713 525 2653

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