Asia fatty alcohol ethoxylates seen stable to firm on tight supply

21 November 2017 05:55 Source:ICIS News

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot fatty alcohol ethoxylates (FAE) prices in Asia may hold stable to firm in the near term on the back of tight supply and a potential increase in demand.

In the week ended 15 November, FAE-7, 9 prices were assessed steady at $1,700-1,800/tonne CIF (cost insurance and freight) SE (southeast) Asia and CIF China, according to ICIS data.

Transactions for November drummed cargoes were last heard concluded at around $1,800/tonne CIF China, while buying indications were at around $1,700/tonne CIF China.

Spot FAE supply was somewhat limited amid regional plant turnarounds and high costs of feedstocks ethylene oxide (EO) and C12-14 fatty alcohol, sources said.

Upstream EO prices remained at a seven-month high of Chinese yuan (CNY) 10,200 EXWH (ex-warehouse) on 15 November, according to data compiled by ICIS.

Co-feedstock C12-14 fatty alcohol prices in Asia were assessed stable week on week at $2,250-2,350/tonne FOB (free on board) SE Asia on 15 November, ICIS data showed.

Pricing uncertainty for C12-14 alcohols and its feedstock palm kernel oil (PKO) was also cited as a concern among sellers.

Regional PKO prices in south Malaysia edged up week on week to around $1,345/tonne DEL (delivered) on 14 November, according to data collected by ICIS.

As a result, producers were heard to be being selective and offering limited cargoes, especially for those with low inventory levels or those planning turnarounds.

On the buying side, demand was generally stable, as consumers were purchasing on a need-to basis in small volumes. Some buyers, however, were preferring to take some time to consider the import offers.

Demand may pick up in the coming weeks since buyers in the home care and industrial cleaning sector are likely to stock up on FAE ahead of the year-end holidays.

With multiple supply-demand variables to consider, most industry participants said they would adopt a cautious approach on the FAE market.

ICIS Editorial Chart goes here

Focus article by Kheng Wee Loy

Picture: Dishwashing liquid. Fatty acid ethoxylate (FAE) is a surfactant often used in the manufacture of personal care and industrial cleaning products. (Source: imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock)

By Kheng Wee Loy