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.
Updated to Q2 2017
Asia’s fatty alcohol market is expected to remain subdued as a result of volatility in feedstock prices. Lower plant utilisation continued to shorten supply, allowing sellers to maintain certain premium for their spot cargoes. However, fatty alcohol prices were expected to soften in the coming months as producers gain access to cheaper feedstock.
European quarterly fatty alcohols trading activity has declined because of feedstock PKO price volatility. Buyers prefer to purchase monthly in what seems to be a restructuring market. Meanwhile, sellers are unhappy about inventory management as many bring their feedstocks in from Asia and run plants to produce fatty alcohols in Europe.
US mid-cut fatty alcohol contract prices saw modest gains in the first quarter of 2017, rising 5 cents/lb over Q4 2016. Feedstock palm kernel oil (PKO) prices soared during the middle of Q1 2017, creating a bubble as PKO prices began to fall quickly. During the Palm Oil Conference (POC) in early March, expectations of strong alcohol price gains were discussed. Less than a week after the POC PKO prices dropped and sellers’ contract targets fell alongside the feedstock fall. Going into Q2, contracts appear ready to rise again as sellers were able to secure some gains from high-cost feedstock prices that hit during the bubble. Buyers’ expectations going forward are that mid-cut alcohol prices are likely to continue to soften on lower PKO costs, mitigating the string of double-digit increases that dominated previous quarters.
We offer the following regional Fatty alcohols analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Fatty alcohols marketplace.
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Fatty Alcohols Methodology
There are two processes in which fatty alcohols are produced – one which is based on natural oils and the other, the synthetic chain, on crude oil.
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.
As the flagship event in the region for the surfactants community, attracting delegates from more than 350 companies from 36 countries since its launch, the ICIS World Surfactants Conference provides the ultimate networking platform for the value chain, and a market content sharing opportunity that is not to be missed.