11 January 2013 19:06 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--North American titanium dioxide (TiO2) fourth-quarter contract values dropped again late in the period by an average of 10 cents/lb ($220/tonne, €165/tonne), sources confirmed on Friday.
The second round of price cuts was expected, following identical reductions earlier in the quarter.
“Volume is very weak, while production and inventories are still strong,” a buyer said. Typically, end-of-year TiO2 demand is weak.
Fourth-quarter pricing continued to weaken well past the usual negoitation period, sources said, reflecting the third-quarter trend seen in July and August.
Although most architectural coatings makers saw reductions of 5-10 cents/lb, depending on volume and current price, a plastics compounder said it did not participate in the secondary reductions.
Averaging 10 cents/lb, the second round of cuts took the fourth-quarter price range down by a total of 20 cents/lb to a new range of $1.55-1.70, as assessed by ICIS.
However, one producer conceded a total fourth-quarter reduction of only 15 cents/lb.
Several sources said they would begin first-quarter negotiations with their suppliers within the next two weeks. But one buyer said it had already received an offer of still-lower pricing for January.
A seller insisted, though, that pricing would be flat during the first quarter, with price-hike talks beginning in the second quarter.
Two buyers said that although the upcoming US spring coatings season is expected to be stronger, price gains would not be justified until mid-year, at best.
($1 = €0.75)
For more on TiO2, visit the ICIS Plants & Projects database
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