- Instability of feedstock prices encourage shift to regional production of natural fatty alcohol
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Five upcoming projects in the major production centers of Southeast Asia are expected to boost the total annual nameplate capacity of the region's fatty alcohol market by more than half a million tons within 2013. This could create a problem of plenty, since Southeast Asia already has sufficient capacity to meet regional demand for three years. If all the new projects get underway as per schedule, fatty alcohol utilization rates will dip and spark intense price wars.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.chemicals.frost.com), Total South East Asian Fatty Alcohol Market, finds that the natural fatty alcohol market in Southeast Asia generated revenues of US$263.3 million in 2012 and is likely to reach US$401.2 million in 2022. The study covers Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.
Apart from strong regional demand, the Southeast Asian fatty alcohol market gets a huge boost due to the rising demand from China, India, Latin America, Europe and the United States. These countries increasingly require fatty alcohol for use in home care (detergents), lubricants, and personal care chemicals.
"The prospects for blended mid-chain fatty alcohols, which are used mainly in the detergents market, are bright as consumers in India and China continue to shift towards liquid laundry detergents," said Frost & Sullivan Chemicals & Materials Consultant Lim Jin Han.
Over the last decade, the market has witnessed a shift in preference from synthetic to natural fatty alcohol. The availability of raw materials such as palm kernel oil and coconut oil in Southeast Asia encourages regional investment in fatty alcohol production since natural alcohols are more cost-effective than synthetic alcohols made from expensive petroleum. Volatile feedstock prices also cause the prices of fatty alcohols to fluctuate. Moreover, end users prefer natural products to synthetically produced alcohols.
"To stay competitive in the merchant market, it is important to lower production costs by using cheaper raw materials," stressed Lim. "It is equally crucial to make the most of captive opportunities through downstream integration with surfactant companies or exthoxylators."
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Total South East Asian Fatty Alcohol Market
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