26 August 2008 23:05 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--A combined 11 cent/lb ($243/tonne) increase announced by DuPont on Tuesday for North American titanium dioxide (TiO2) effective 15 September and 1 October prompted a measure of shock and scepticism from some domestic customers.
Although a few market participants have suggested the domestic market might see several increases before the end of the year, several customers continued to balk, citing continued sluggish demand stemming largely from the depressed ?xml:namespace>
"I know they want to get their prices up, but there's still no real demand in the
Another buyer described the announcement as "mind-boggling." He said he took 3 cents/lb in June from earlier in the year, but is still fighting the 11 cents/lb proposed in June and July.
TiO2 producers have had only limited success with increase announcements totalling 23 cents/lb since fourth quarter 2007, gaining 3 cents/lb among plastics compounders in March and more broadly implementing a 3 cent/lb hike in June.
In overseas markets, DuPont and Kronos also announced on Tuesday price increases of $200/tonne (€136/tonne) for their TiO2 sold into Asia, the third and fourth initiatives this week effective first-half September from a US pigment maker for Asian or European material.
Within the last week, two other producers - Kronos and Huntsman - each announced hikes of €50/tonne ($74/tonne) in Europe and
Rationale cited by all of the sellers included strong demand in those regions and continued margin pressure from elevated raw material and transportation costs.
The latest announcements followed a spate of hikes announced for August in Europe, Latin America, and other regions and energy surcharges of 6-14 cents/lb into the North American paper market.
Domestic prices for North American TiO2 are 108-111 cents/lb FD (free delivered), according to data from global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.
Other US TiO2 producers include Cristal Global and Tronox.
($1 = €0.68)
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