13 July 2011 22:02 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Third-quarter US fatty alcohol contracts concluded with mixed settlement levels, with some rolling over and others falling - driven by shifting supply and demand factors, buyers and sellers said on Wednesday.
Short-chain C8-10/11 natural and synthetic alcohol contracts completed largely at a rollover from the second quarter, maintaining an assessment of $1.05-$1.10/lb ($2,315-2,425/tonne, €1,644-1,722/tonne) for the third quarter.
Sources said improving alcohol supply was met by sluggish demand, keeping the short-chain at a neutral point.
Sluggish US demand for the short-chain alcohols was primarily derived from challenges in the housing and construction segment, a major end-use area for these alcohols.
In the huge mid-cut detergent range alcohol tier, natural and synthetic contract prices fell back 10 cents/lb on the high end of the second-quarter assessment, but the low end of the assessment remained steady.
Third-quarter contracts were assessed at $1.70-1.85/lb, compared with a second-quarter assessment of $1.70-1.95/lb.
Large and medium buyers said widely improving supply was the main driver for the price decreases achieved in the third-quarter contract negotiations.
Industrial and household surfactants form the primary demand drivers in the mid-cut C12-14/15/16 alcohols, with C12-14 and C12-16 representing the naturals and C12-15 a synthetic form.
US surfactant demand has remained strong throughout the first half of 2011.
Contract settlements in the long-chain blended fatty alcohol C16-18 category moved down in the large volume buying tier, but many medium-sized accounts were finished in a rollover.
Third-quarter C16-18 contracts were assessed in a narrow spread at $1.20-1.25/lb. The low end of the assessment was underpinned by rollovers in the medium-sized accounts, while large volume purchasing upheld the 5 cent/lb loss at the top end.
Domestic US natural fatty alcohol producers include Procter & Gamble and Cognis.
Fatty alcohol importers to the US include Kao of Japan, Ecogreen and VVF.
The US is a net importer of all fatty alcohols.
($1 = €0.71)
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