12 March 2010 18:38 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Cristal Global said on Friday that it plans to increase titanium dioxide (TiO2) prices in North America, effective on 1 April, becoming the fifth major North American producer to announce identical initiatives in the past two weeks.
North American producers are seeking an additional 5 cents/lb ($110/tonne, €80/tonne). If successful, most of those increases would be implemented on 1 July, following typical 90-day price protection.
Cristal also announced other April initiatives, proposing a hike of $100/tonne in the Middle East and Africa and in Latin America, as well as initiatives of plus €100/tonne in Europe, an increase of $150/tonne in the Asia-Pacific region and a hike of $100/tonne in Australian dollars.
Although Cristal did not provide specific rationale, most suppliers have cited snug supply and improving demand as the US coatings season approaches.
With January TiO2 initiatives of 6 cents/lb still in contention, buyers said it was premature to speculate on the April initiatives.
But several customers said that despite the difficulty in passing hikes along downstream, the January price-hike effort could succeed partially, at least, given demand improvement in plastics compounding and packaging.
One buyer said those segments have seen demand improve by 5-10% versus the year-ago period. Although demand from the automobile market is still down by 20% compared with a year earlier, a buyer said, it has also improved.
Current North American TiO2 prices are $114-128/tonne, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.
($1 = €0.73)
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