23 July 2012 18:42 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Costs for raw materials such as titanium dioxide (TIO2) have declined in recent weeks, but still have a long way to fall, the chief executive of US-based RPM International said on Monday.
“We have experienced a price decline in recent TIO2 purchases versus a quarter or two ago,” said chief executive Frank Sullivan. He made his comments during a conference call.
“But we’re nowhere near what we might have been paying two years ago," he said.
Lacklustre demand and oversupply have already brought price cuts of 5-10 cents/lb by a few coatings and paper makers and plastic compounders, sources said last week. Most buyers expect reductions, but decreases have not yet been confirmed.
“These are the first declines in TIO2 costs in a couple of years,” Sullivan said. But he added that the recent cuts were just a start toward where prices were in 2009 and 2010.
TIO2 prices in North America now run in the low $2.00/lb range, averaging around $2.06/lb ($4,541/tonne, €3,769/tonne), according to ICIS.
In late July 2009, TIO2 prices were almost $1/lb lower, at $1.14/lb. A year later, in July 2010, TIO2 prices averaged $1.31/lb, according to ICIS.
Sullivan said there has been a return to normal spending patterns in RPM’s North American home maintenance, repair and decorating markets, but he said industrial business had slowed because of uncertainty over the coming US presidential election.
The outlook in Europe is grimmer, Sullivan said.
“We are beginning to see declines in sales and earnings across some of our European operations,” Sullivan said. “This is compounded by the continuing deterioration of the euro versus the US dollar.”
($1 = €0.83)
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