China’s TiO2 imports hit record high in July

31 August 2009 11:46  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--China’s import of titanium dioxide (TiO2) hit a record high in July but the import spike is likely to be short-lived as Chinese domestic production looked set to recover with improving market conditions, sources said on Monday.

The import volume of TiO2 in the month of July was 30,532 tonnes, according to the China Customs. This was the highest volume in a month since records began in 1995.

Market players attributed the import surge to an urgent need for restocking among TiO2 users in China. The country only imported 100,281 tonnes of TiO2 in the first six months of the year, which was the lowest for any corresponding period since 2003.

July was traditionally among the peak months for TiO2 consumption in China, further stoking demand, traders and producers added.

However, the import spike was unlikely to last as Chinese producers were expected to raise their operating rates along with rising TiO2 prices, market players said.

Sluggish demand and poor margins due to the global economic recession had forced Chinese producers to either slash their operating rates or shut down their plants completely in the first half of the year.

However, rising TiO2 prices since June had encouraged them to restart idle capacities, thereby lessening the need for TiO2 imports, traders and producers said.

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