Paper machines are booked to capacity until the end of the first quarter, say decor paper companies.
Central European decor paper manufacturers are preparing the grounds for the next round of mark-ups. In preliminary talks that are being held since mid-February, suppliers have been informing buyers about their price plans for decor paper. They are explaining this move with the necessity to offset rising costs of raw materials, titanium dioxide (TiO2) and eucalyptus pulp in particular.
According to decor paper manufacturers, titanium dioxide producers are planning to increase prices for TiO2 products by €200-250/t for deliveries from 1 March or as contracts allow. The subtle supply shortage for titanium dioxide has taken a turn for the worse with the production stoppage at Huntsman Corp's plant in Pori, Finland, that has been hit by fire and suffered substantial structural damage.
At the same, demand for paper business is said to be good. Paper machines are reportedly booked to capacity and there are no free volumes until the end of the first quarter.
TiO2 producers push for price hikes
According to EUWID market survey, the upward trend in titanium dioxide (TiO2) prices since the second quarter of 2016 is likely to witness some acceleration in the coming months. Manufacturers have again approached their customers with demands for higher prices after implementing price hikes in the last four quarters.
Chemours had published a letter on 15 December 2016 asking for a hike of €175/t for deliveries to Europe and $150 for deliveries to Eastern Europe. This was followed by another announcement on 6 February demanding a price hike of €200/t for Western Europe and 200/t for Eastern Europe.
Huntsman followed up on 9 February with an announcement of an increase of €235/t in Europe. Cristal Global is set to implement an increase of €225/t on the market in Europe as of 1 March according to a notice published on 10 February. Cristal Global had sent out circulars on 23 November and 22 December announcing price hikes of €200/t for deliveries effective from 1 January.
Kronos has reportedly confronted its customers directly with a hike of around €250/t.
There has been no news so far of a price increase announcement from Tronox. In negotiations for the first quarter, the company had asked for an increase of €150/t on the European market.