Our global Fatty Alcohols report is published weekly and contains price assessments for a range of grades, but focusses on spot activity in Asia and contract in Europe and the US.
The news and market analysis provides information on the factors driving prices, including demand, supply, feedstock movements and graphs. As a market participant you can use this reliable tool to help in the business decision-making process.
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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Fatty alcohols: Market overview
Updated to Q2 2016
Asia’s fatty alcohol market faces a mixed second quarter, with C12-14 alcohol expected to be firmer on higher raw material prices, while prices of the long-chain remain suppressed. Some producers are now focusing on margin protection for their C12-14 materials, saying that the long-chain markets are too price-competitive at the moment.
European market consensus shows that fatty alcohol second-quarter contract price increases are extremely likely, the magnitude of such an increase remain contentious early in the quarter. Generally, producers and buyers are at a stand-off, and discussions are ongoing. Producers argue they cannot drop offers to levels they say will constitute a loss in the second quarter, based on recent feedstock trends, while buyers continue to question the validity and longevity of the high PKO prices seen in recent weeks.
Quarterly US fatty alcohol contracts are strongly pressured up in the second quarter, expected to regain all losses that hit in the second half of 2015. Natural fatty alcohol producers entered the second quarter market aggressively because of the loss of profit margin during late 2015. Soaring palm kernel oil (PKO) prices are the key driver in the second quarter price picture. Additionally, the ample supply factor that dominated 2015 is evaporating in 2016 as Asian producers have cut capacity utilisation rates back sharply.
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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.
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