Fatty alcohols Prices, markets & analysis
For those looking to keep abreast of the global Fatty alcohols market, our independent, unbiased pricing information, news and market analysis is an invaluable resource.
Whether you buy or sell Fatty alcohols or related products, you need to know about the prices and the factors driving the prices in the global Fatty alcohols market as they happen. Our network of price reporters throughout Asia, Europe and the US provide key local insights. We collate this intelligence into daily and weekly price reports, ensuring you have the up-to-date information you need at all times.
Our editor gives their expert view of fatty alcohols
Fatty Alcohols Overview Transcript
The fatty alcohols are part of a group of chemicals called oleochemicals. The alcohols contain an alcohol unit as well as a glyceride unit and the functionality of those units allows the alcohols to be used in end-uses for industrial and home cleansers, detergents, surfactants.
It also enables the C8-11s to go into various construction uses and the C16-18s to go into personal care and cosmetics.
The market is driven highly by the price of veg oils in Asia, the US imports about 90% of our alcohols, so the US market is very watchful of the Asian veg oil prices.
It’s trade driven and the US, being a huge consuming market, whereas the other markets might have a little more spot selling going on
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Upstream of Fatty alcohols
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Fatty alcohols: Market overview
The volatility in upstream vegetable oil, crude palm kernel oil (PKO) or coconut oil will result in fluctuating Asian fatty alcohols supply availability, driving prices up or down depending on upstream direction.
Higher income levels and a growing population in Asia – especially in China and India – has shifted demand from powder laundry detergent to liquid detergent, supporting the demand for mid-cut fatty alcohols, which form 60-70% of total fatty alcohols production.
In 2014, new production capacities in Asia may lead to a supply glut, but it remains unclear if all planned production increases will take place.
In Europe, Q1 contracts are under way, with prices for mid-cut expected to rise on the back of firmer PKO and implementation of import duties from Indonesia, Malaysia and India.
A new production plant in Rotterdam is expected to come on-stream in Q1, with a nameplate capacity of 120,000 tonnes/year.
In the US, supply and demand are balanced and are expected to remain that way for the first two quarters of 2014.
First-quarter contracts in the US are expected to be on an uptrend for mid-cut C12-16 because of supply issues from Asia, supported by healthy demand from industrial surfactants in downstream oil and gas sectors. Demand from personal care and cosmetics in the heavy chain applications are expected to remain flat in Q1 amid the ongoing slow pace to full economic recovery.
Lower natural gas prices in the US will continue to offer ethylene and gas-to-liquid (GTL) producers some advantage for their margins against natural fatty alcohols from southeast Asia.
Updated to mid-Jan 2014
News & analysis
Fatty alcohols news & analysis
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Fatty Alcohols Methodology
About Fatty alcohols
Fatty alcohols can be produced from natural oils such as palm kernel oil, vegetable oils, soy bean and tallow using hydrogenation. However, they can be produced synthetically by the oligomerization of ethylene to produce fatty alcohols with chain lengths suitable for surfactants.
The main use of fatty alcohols is in detergents where they are used to make the active cleansing ingredients in laundry detergents, shampoos and shower gels. An example is the production of ethoxylates from the reaction of the acid with ethylene oxide.
In cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, fatty alcohols may be used because of their own specific properties such as cleansing, shaving and vanishing creams, hair lotions and lipsticks.
Other applications include emulsion stabilisers, evaporation control agent, lubricants, corrosion inhibitors and inks.
Upstream of Fatty alcohols
Downstream of Fatty alcohols