Upward spiral in titanium dioxide prices slowing in second quarter

Copyright EUWID
15 May 2018 − 

Demand weaker than expected in some segments

The upward spiral in titanium dioxide (TiO2) contract prices that has lasted since the second quarter of 2016 has slowed, as anticipated. Negotiations about second-quarter deliveries were largely wrapped up by mid-April and led to a rise in prices of €20-50/t, depending on their previous level. Prices thus jumped by an average of €25-30/t. Manufacturers were only able to implement about half of the demands that they had outlined when talks began.

 Several TiO2 suppliers had originally set their sights on charging €70-90/t more. However, initial talks had revealed that mark-ups of this kind were out of the question because supply continues to improve. Manufacturers had then revised their price hikes to €50-60/t.

Titanium dioxide producers and converters felt that several factors had contributed towards the improvement in supply seen since the end of 2017. North American and European producers' facilities are reportedly running with only few disruptions. The Huntsman spinoff Venator Materials continues to ramp up production at its fire-damaged facility in Pori, Finland. The company is said to have increased output to 40% of its original capacity of 130,000 tpy as of the start of the second quarter. Supply has also improved thanks to rising imports from China.

On the sales side, demand is weaker than expected in some segments, something that is partly due to buyers running down inventories that they built up last year to secure supply. A few buyers have recently pushed back orders of late for this reason.

This article is an excerpt from EUWID's report on the titanium dioxide market in Western Europe. The EUWID Price Watch Titanium Dioxide for the second quarter 2018 is being published in EUWID Pulp and Paper no. 20.2018 on 16 May.

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