Southeast Asia soap noodle prices fall on weak demand

19 July 2011 06:53  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Prices in the southeast Asian soap noodle market are falling and may remain soft for the next few weeks because of weak global demand, regional producers said on Tuesday.

Soap noodle prices are at $1,060-1,120/tonne (€753-795/tonne) FOB (free on board) southeast Asia on 19 July, down by $130-140/tonne as compared with the same period in May 2011, ICIS data showed.

“The global slowdown in soap noodle sales is hurting our business,” said a Malaysian soap noodle producer.

“Traditionally, soap noodle demand is stable in Europe during this period due to the impending summer season, but the eurozone debt issues are weighing on buying interest,” an Indonesian soap noodle producer added.

In addition, producers said demand from the Middle East, which is another key export market for southeast Asian soap noodle producers, has dropped this quarter as buyers are staying on the sidelines and waiting for prices to fall further.

A second Malaysian producer said soap noodle producers in Egypt and Turkey could be supplying their product to the Middle East market and therefore demand for southeast Asian soap noodles has dropped.

Regional sellers said demand from Africa, the third-largest market for exports after Europe and the Middle East, remains healthy but payment issues are hampering trade.

“Africa is a big buyer of our soap noodles at the moment, but the long wait to receive payment is obstructing trade with the country,” said a second Indonesian soap noodle producer.

China and India are largely self-sufficient in terms of soap noodles and they have little requirements for southeast Asian imports, a trader in Singapore said.

“With demand weak globally, I expect soap noodle prices to remain soft for the whole month of July,” the trader added.

($1 = €0.71)

By: Serena Seng

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