23 November 2012 16:48 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Titanium dioxide (TiO2) exports from the EU to the rest of the world increased by 52% from January to August 2012, Eurostat data showed on Friday.
In January this year 18,766 tonnes of TiO2 were exported from the EU to the rest of the world while in August this had increased to 28,675 tonnes.
A TiO2 producer said that this was because demand in Europe is exceptionally weak and most producers have been looking to offload stocks overseas.
"EU exports have gone up so much because demand here is weak, while prices in North and Latin-America and parts of Asia Pacific have been more competitive," the producer said.
According to ICIS data, in North America TiO2 is traded at $1.90-1.99/lb free delivered (FD) North America ($4.28/kg/€3.30/kg) while in Asia it is $3.30/kg (€2.54/kg) cost and freight (CFR) Asia. In Europe, TiO2 export prices are at $3.00/kg free on board (FOB) northwest Europe (NWE).
European quarterly contract prices are slightly higher at €2.75-2.85/kg FD NWE and spot prices are at €2.45-2.60/kg FD NWE, according to several sources.
A second seller said that demand in parts the world is still relatively good, so the arbitrage window is open for exporters.
"Demand in southeast Asia is really good and the Middle East and Latin America are holding up too," the seller said.
Exports from the EU to Brazil increased from 539 tonnes in January to 1,104 tonnes in August. During the same period, exports to India grew from 369 tonnes to 628 tonnes. Mexico's imports rose ten-fold from 60 tonnes to 645 tonnes. Belarus's imports increased from 50 tonnes to 468 tonnes. In addition, export to Russia nearly trebled while to Turkey they more than doubled from January to August.
According to a major producer, this trend is likely to continue into the 2013 because demand is unlikely to pick up in Europe as the continent is mired in the eurozone debt crisis.
($1 = €0.78)
Follow Janos Gal on Twitter @janosgalICIS
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