ICIS offers up-to-date reliable pricing information on the Paraffin wax market weekly in Asia, Europe and the US. Our comprehensive reports cover domestic and spot price assessments while commentary gives an overview detailing the factors that influence price moves.
If you are involved in this industry, you can use our news and analysis to help support those vital business choices.
Our editor gives their expert view
Paraffin wax Overview Transcript
There are many uses for paraffin wax from cosmetics through to packaging. However the production of candles is by far the largest consuming sector for paraffin wax.
Paraffin wax is derived from slack wax, a by-product of Group 1 Base Oil production and is classified according to oil content, melting point and the amount of processing put in. There is little investment in Group 1 Base Oils production because of shifting global demand patterns.
Moreover paraffin wax faces challenges from possible natural alternatives such as soy and palm oil.
The price of paraffin wax can be influenced by upstream factors such as crude oil price fluctuations. In addition, demand for paraffin wax and candles can be influenced by wider economic concerns. These challenges along side the global nature of the business make it a complex market place.
Anyone involved in the paraffin wax business who wants to understand what is happening should read the ICIS report .
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Paraffin wax: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2016
Asia paraffin wax prices in Q4 are likely to be stable or firmer on improved demand and tight supply, particularly for solid wax. The demand for solid wax applications is expected to strengthen until November in the lead up to Christmas. Meanwhile, the supply of paraffin wax in key market China was deemed to be tight by market participants. The price outlook for Q4 will depend on how much demand picks up in the months leading up to the festive season.
Paraffin wax in Europe entered Q4 in an unusual state; October is normally the peak season for demand and is usually characterised by high prices. However, the market is weak with high inventories and poor demand – and there are no signs that the situation is likely to improve. Supply has swelled due to Chinese imports throughout the year, and this has boosted inventories. However, lower prices have not resulted in increased buying, so further reductions may not be likely.
US paraffin waxes are in a supply/demand balance for Q4 2016 and are expected to remain so into Q1. The closure of ExxonMobil’s Beaumont, Texas, Group I base oil and wax facility earlier in 2016 has had little impact on the US paraffin wax market, despite expectations of reduced supplies. The market remains stable. Chinese wax imports are a key factor in the balance alongside ongoing flat US demand. The use of alternative waxes such as soy wax and palm wax is increasing, with candlemakers acknowledging that these waxes are becoming more prevalent.
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Paraffin Wax Methodology
About Paraffin wax
Paraffin waxes are classified according to oil content, melting point, and the amount of processing put in. At room temperature paraffin wax can be found in a solid state, when it reaches 37°C and above the wax will begin to enter a liquid phase.
At the simplest level, slack wax, a byproduct of base oil refining, is the feedstock from which different grades of more sophisticated waxes are produced. Fully refined waxes are white, odourless and tasteless, and have less than 0.5% oil content.
They are widely used for candle making and in the packaging industry as wax coatings for paper, film and foil substrates including corrugated board, cups and container. Waxes are marketed in either liquid or solid state.
Other common uses are for corrugated boxes, waxed papers, frozen food cartons and wrappers, paper cups, candles, cosmetics, rubber antioxidants, lumber end seal, adhesives, protective coatings, food additives, cheese dipping, crayons, moisture barriers, polishes, modelling clay, plus many others.