08 April 2010 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--European titanium dioxide (TiO2) producers managed to push through increases of €70/tonne ($93/tonne) for the second quarter due to tight supply, sources said on Thursday.
Customers were worried that this may only be the start, however, as manufacturers were targeting €100/tonne hikes for the quarter and said they would look to make up the €30/tonne shortfall in monthly business in May or June.
“The market is a jungle at the moment, whatever we ask for we get,” said one producer.
The TiO2 second-quarter contract price was assessed at €2,250-2,420/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest ?xml:namespace>
Sellers were said to be on “careful distribution” due to an already tight market exacerbated by the Cristal Global force majeure occurring just as seasonal demand was picking up.
European producers were unable to cover the shortfall in supply, and some customers were being told that they would have to wait at least eight weeks for new deliveries, according to one trader.
Buyers were therefore nervous about securing material and were reportedly willing to pay up to €2,800/tonne FD NWE on the spot market.
“If you have stock, you can demand crazy prices, but unfortunately we have none,” said one trader.
Several players stated that as sellers were dealing almost exclusively with the bigger purchasers, smaller customers were bearing the brunt of the hikes, and in most cases there was nothing left for them to buy.
“We are not trying to gain market share as we simply do not have the product to do it,” said one producer.
($1 = €0.75)
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