TiO2 producers target hikes in Europe, buyers unwilling to accept

22 February 2013 12:10  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) producers are targeting price increases in Turkey and the rest of Europe after a year of plummeting values, but buyers on Friday said this is not the right time for hikes.

"Effective 1 March, 2013, or as permitted by contracts, prices for all Kronos TiO2 products sold in western Europe and Turkey will be increased by a minimum of €200/tonne [$263/tonne]," US-based TiO2 producer Kronos said in a statement.

At the same time another US-based TiO2 maker, Huntsman, the third largest in the world, announced it would target increases of €0.23/kg.

Buyers have said they will not accept the increases as demand is poor and there is plenty of TiO2 on offer.

"Good luck for the producers, although I don't think they will be successful with their attempts," a buyer in Europe said.

"Only a few weeks ago they were predicting further price decreases and deterioration in the market, so this has come as a big surprise for me," the buyer added. 

Earlier this week, Netherlands-based coatings producer and TiO2 buyer AkzoNobel predicted that TiO2 prices would soften in 2013.

TiO2 prices have plummeted since February 2012 because of poor demand from the automotive, paints, coatings, paper and construction industries.

According to ICIS, the average price of European-origin TiO2 dropped from €3.00-3.40/kg free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) in February 2012 to €2.40-2.55/kg FD NWE in February 2013.

Buyers anticipated another drop in March and April based on falling feedstock costs. However, producers said that to maintain margins they cannot afford to reduce prices any further.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Janos Gal
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