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Europe fatty acids demand stable to soft until year end, pockets of tightness expected
Buying interest for European fatty acids is anticipated to remain stable from some applications until the end of 2019, while demand in other applications is set to fall.
Demand from the automotive industry has been weak this year amid a downturn in the sector.
There are no indications that this will improve before the end of the year. Fatty acids demand from these applications is expected to continue falling in the coming months.
Buying interest in the cosmetics, personal care and cleaning markets is set to remain healthy, with economic and political issues impacting on these industries less.
Cosmetics, personal care and cleaning applications are the largest markets for fatty acids demand in Europe, so buying interest is anticipated to be largely balanced for the remainder of this year.
There are no clear indications of expected demand levels for 2020 as of yet.
Tightness persists in the palm oleic acid market. While some players are sold out for spot material during the third quarter, others are sold out of fourth quarter material for both contracts and spot deals.
The shortage of material is not expected to ease in the coming months.
Palm-based material is currently trading at a discount to tallow-based oleic acid, which is leading some players to switch from tallow to palm-based product.
The tallow oleic market is also tight in some cases.
Severe shortages in the tallow market earlier in the year, brought on by high feedstock costs and growing raw tallow demand from the biodiesel industry, saw many players switch to palm oleic acid, tightening this market as a result.
Tallow oleic supply is improving, with balanced stocks expected in this market by the end of the year.
While length has been seen in the stearic acid market recently, one source said this week that the market is balanced.
Palm stearic acid has been very balanced for most of the year, although low demand during the seasonal summer lull created a slight oversupply.
Stocks are balanced again heading towards the end of August, with no major changes to the market anticipated in the next few months.