Huntsman proposes higher N America titanium dioxide price hikes

02 June 2011 03:09  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--North American titanium dioxide (TiO2) buyers said late on Wednesday that Huntsman's push for a 20 cent/lb ($441/tonne, €304/tonne) increase was unreasonable, especially when compared with the hikes proposed by its competitors.

Huntsman’s plan to raise North American TiO2 prices by twice the level proposed by some competitors was a shock to the market, buyers said.

Huntsman’s pigments division recently announced its plan to increase TiO2 prices by 20 cents/lb with effect from 1 June.

Earlier initiatives announced by DuPont, Cristal and Tronox would increase domestic prices by 10 cents/lb, also effective from 1 June onwards.

A buyer said he was baffled by the announcement from Huntsman, which did not respond to a request for further comment.

“I understood the 15 cents/lb for April because of ore costs and those contracts talks, but I just can’t see it going up 1 September or even 1 October unless there’s some sort of unusual demand,” said a paint maker.

“The coatings season will be over,” he added.

If the efforts to raise prices for June succeed, the hikes will be implemented on 1 September, only 60 days after April initiatives of 15 cents/lb are widely expected to be implemented.

Kronos was the only major domestic producer to announce TiO2 prices increases of 15 cents/lb, with effect from 1 July, or the beginning of the third quarter of this year.

Buyers said they are frustrated by the shortened price period, which is rare in the domestic TiO2 market, but producers and analysts have said supply will remain tight and prices will continue to rise for several years.

Domestic TiO2 prices were last assessed at $1.40–1.54/lb on 27 May, ICIS data showed.

($1 = €0.69)

For more on titanium dioxide, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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