Slumping Demand Drives Down the Fatty Alcohol Ethoxylates Prices in the US Market
Slumping Demand Drives Down the Fatty Alcohol Ethoxylates Prices in the US Market

Slumping Demand Drives Down the Fatty Alcohol Ethoxylates Prices in the US Market

  • 08-Jun-2023 11:07 AM
  • Journalist: Timothy Greene

The ongoing economic structuring after the failure of two major banks in the late Q1 of 2023 in the US market has been impacting the market performance of major manufacturing sectors, including the surfactant and detergent sectors. The core inflation has been trending above the US Federal Reserve’s targeted levels and inching downwards at a slower pace, pressuring the trade activities of various specialty chemicals, like Fatty Alcohol Ethoxylates. Moreover, the ample availability of upstream Palm Oil in the major manufacturing nations, Indonesia and Malaysia, has led to price adjustments for its downstream derivatives like Fatty Alcohol, weakening the pricing dynamics of Fatty Alcohol Ethoxylates.

The downturn in the Fatty Alcohol Ethoxylates market was worsened by concerns of an impending recession and the escalation of a financial crisis, with the uncertainty surrounding potential interest rate increases overshadowing the demand fundamentals of the surfactant and detergent industries that rely on these products. As a result, the downstream surfactant and detergent sector inquiries drastically declined, weakening the overall market sentiments of Fatty Alcohol Ethoxylates. Furthermore, the market witnessed an accumulation of high stocks of Fatty Alcohol Ethoxylates, causing it to operate at low levels.

On the upstream front, according to market sources, the government of Indonesia early this year suspended export licenses for Palm Oil totaling over 3 million metric tonnes. The director general of the Foreign Trade Ministry of Trade, Budi Santoso, said the 3.03 million metric tonnes (mt) of deposited export rights for Palm Oil products would be distributed until January 2024, with an average of 336,000 mt of permits being distributed every month. In addition, one of the major upstream market players of Fatty Alcohol Ethoxylates, BASF India Ltd, has reported a fall of 45% in its profit in Q1 amid weak sales across the regional markets.

Furthermore, Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union initiated a cessation of activities at several marine terminals located in the port of Los Angeles as the second quarter of 2023 drew to a close. The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) reported that comparable actions were also observed in Oakland, Tacoma, and Seattle.

According to the pricing intelligence of ChemAnalyst, the prices of Fatty Alcohol Ethoxylates are anticipated to remain on the lower end. The cheaper imports of upstream raw materials are likely to impose downside risks on the price realizations of Fatty Alcohol Ethoxylates. Furthermore, if inflation remains unchanged, the US Federal Reserve has indicated the potential for additional rate hikes in the upcoming months, which is likely to pressure the market fundamentals of Fatty Alcohol Ethoxylates.

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