07 March 2012 18:35 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--North American titanium dioxide (TiO2) buyers said on Wednesday that they are frustrated by the latest price-hike effort that surfaced from DuPont this week.
The world’s largest TiO2 producer announced on Monday its intent to raise its prices by 20 cents/lb ($441/tonne, €335/tonne), effective 1 April, on product sold into all of its major market segments except paper and paperboard.
If the DuPont initiative succeeds, increases would be implemented on 1 July for most contract customers.
“This is the first I’ve heard of it, and it sickens me,” a buyer said of the initiative. “I was hoping we wouldn’t see these kinds of increases this year, but I guess they’re going to keep trying to get better margins. When is it going to be enough for them?”
Other buyers were similarly frustrated, citing the swift run-up in pricing over the past two years and the current slack demand and ample supply.
January initiatives of 15 cents/lb are being negotiated for implementation on 1 April, and most buyers said they are pushing for a reduction of at least 5 cents/lb.
Other TiO2 producers are expected to follow DuPont’s lead.
Kronos said in its fourth-quarter earnings call this week that it will increase its pricing throughout the year to protect and improve its margins in the face of rising ore costs.
TiO2 is currently priced at $1.90-2.04/lb ($4,189-4,497/tonne, €3,183-3,418/tonne) as assessed by ICIS.
($1 = €0.76)
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