World prices of paraffin wax have been mostly stable in 2011
at $1,500/tonne (€1,170/ton) FOB China Main Port for the benchmark solid wax with melt points at 58/60 degrees Celsius .Prices increased to around $1,650/ton FOB China in March 2011 as candle manufacturing traditionally peaks towards the end of the first quarter.Paraffin wax is more expensive than its substitutes such as palm wax, triple pressed stearic acid, tallow and soy wax.Palm wax, the most popular substitute to paraffin wax is being offered at below $1,300/ton FOB SE (southeast) Asia December 2011. Soy wax is also heard being used in wax blends in some industries.Sellers acknowledged that natural wax would never replace petroleum-based wax altogether.Waxes from natural sources are yellow and are incapable to hold colour and fragrance well, according to market participants. Some traders also said palm wax burns faster that it can only be a substitute for paraffin wax.Slack wax is a by-product of Group I base oils production. It undergoes a de-oiling and bleaching process to become paraffin wax.China’s paraffin wax capacity stands at around 1.5 m tones/year, accounting for around 70% of the total global wax product, according to market participants.China, a major exporter of paraffin wax, is expected to ship out a smaller volume of less than 500,000 tons this year for the solid fully refined paraffin wax, In 2010, the country exported 517,031 tons of the chemical, according to China Customs.The country itself may be using up some of its paraffin wax output to make candles, which are then exported, some traders said. Candle exports enjoy a tax refund in China.In India, candles are mainly used for lighting and for religious observances. But with better and more stable electricity network in the country, there is less use for candles during power blackouts, according to participants based in the country.The country procures from Iran about 90% of its wax import requirements, according to traders.According to traders, Iran had been selling semi-refined or slackwax at cheap prices. Wax prices were assessed at around $1,150/tonne CFR (cost and freight) India on 4 January.