10 December 2009 20:56 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US titanium dioxide (TiO2) producer Tronox added its voice Thursday to those of most other domestic producers who have announced plans to increase prices by the first of the year, or as soon as contracts allow.
Tronox follows other producers seeking an additional 6 cents/lb ($132/tonne, €90/tonne) on its TiO2, effective 1 January for its North American material.
Additionally, Tronox will seek an increase of $150/tonne for material sold into ?xml:namespace>
Tronox did not immediately return a call for comment, but producers have cited poor margins as their primary rationale for more price increases. One seller said this week that the profitability of the TiO2 industry has deteriorated to a level that requires radical price corrections.
Another producer, who said the market has been under margin duress for years, acknowledged buyer resistance but reiterated the need to restore industry profits to reinvestment levels.
Buyers acknowledged supply-side arguments, but the rationale did not appear to resonate.
Many buyers remained adamant that any further price hikes - including previous initiatives of plus 5 cents/lb for 1 October - were unlikely before year’s end due to seasonally weak demand and no inordinate upstream pressure.
Other buyers said further price gains would not be justified until the first quarter of next year, when market participants could better assess future demand.
North American TiO2 prices were 112-124 cents/lb ($2,469-2,734/tonne, €1,654-1,832/tonne), according to data from global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.
Other TiO2 producers include Cristal, DuPont, Kronos and Huntsman.
($1 = €0.68)
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