How the Filipino Typhoon Will Affect Surfactant Markets

The devastating typhoon that recently swept the Philippines exacted a tragic loss of life, property and natural resources. As we all participate in a global economy, the destruction of the coconut crop will have a longstanding effect on pricing of surfactants here in North America. 50% of the coconut harvested in the world comes from the Philippines and reports are that 25% of all coconut trees were destroyed. It takes 3 years for a newly planted tree to bear fruit, so that means a prolonged shortage for the years to come. The futures index has already risen $0.30/# for January 1st and will probably go higher. Most coconut users are protected quarterly, so these raw material increases will start being felt January 1st , but people will begin buying up reserves now. Apart from the common use of coconut fatty acid and hydrogenated coconut fatty acid in lubricants, it will directly affect our pricing on amides which will rise at least $0.15/# January 1st whether they are cocamide DEA or coco DIPA etc. We have not yet heard from our cocobetaine producer but expect similar news from them.

Coconut oil is comprised of 50% C12 and 20% C14—so anything lauric- or myristic- will be affected. That will include linear alcohol ethoxylates made out of coconut or palm kernel oil, ether sulfates, amine oxides, di coco quats (Carsprays) as well as coco sultaines and other amphoterics. This is only a short list; our chemist Pete is available to fill in the blanks if you have questions, but the message is there will be price increases and probably some shortages.

If these surfactant products are an important part of your business, contact your FBC representative today for further news and to help us secure you a reliable supply at a price that makes you smile.