US Huntsman adds to TiO2 North America Q3 price-hike efforts

09 March 2012 20:38  [Source: ICIS news]

TiO2 is used in paintHOUSTON (ICIS)--North American titanium dioxide (TiO2) producer Huntsman on Friday became the fourth domestic producer to announce plans to raise prices for the third quarter, but buyers remain opposed to the initiatives.

Huntsman said it plans to raise contract prices by 20 cents/lb ($441/tonne, €331/tonne), to be implemented on 1 July.

Three other major domestic producers – DuPont, Kronos and Tronox – have announced identical third-quarter initiatives earlier in the week.

TiO2 makers have said they must continue to protect margins in the face of rising ore costs.

Buyers are opposed to the initiatives, which they say are unjustified because of ample supply, slack demand and doubts about the strength of the spring coatings season.

North American TiO2 is currently $1.90-2.04/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

If the third-quarter initiatives succeed, increases would be implemented on 1 July for most contract customers under 90-day price protection.

Kronos also announced plans to raise its TiO2 prices by at least $250/tonne in regions including Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The company intends to raise prices by at least €175/tonne, or $225/tonne in dollar markets, in Turkey and eastern and western Europe. Tronox announced identical initiatives in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

DuPont also announced April price hikes in several of those regions, including increases of €150/tonne in north Africa and central and western Europe, $200/tonne in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and some parts of eastern Europe, and $200/tonne in the Asia Pacific region.

Huntsman initiatives outside North America include proposed hikes of €200/tonne in Europe, and $300/tonne in Asia Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

The North American market is already negotiating second-quarter initiatives of 15 cents/lb for implementation on 1 April, but most buyers say they are willing to accept increases of only 10 cents/lb.

US TiO2 producers include Cristal, Tronox, DuPont, Huntsman and Kronos.

($1 = €0.75)

For more on Huntsman, visit the ICIS plants and projects database

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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