No growth for European TiO2 market in 2013 - consultant

08 March 2013 16:15  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Little growth is expected in the European titanium dioxide (TiO2) market in 2013, Jim Fisher, co-chair of the Titanium Dioxide World Summit 2013 told ICIS.

"It maybe too early to give a clear assessment of pigment consumption for 2013, as European economies are clearly stuck in recession and will remain there for the year, and the US economy is lurching ahead without a clear sign of what to expect in the second half of 2013," Fisher, who is also the CEO of IBMA, a pigment consultancy, said.

Fisher said that the upstream mineral situation is clearer, as Rio Tinto is supporting higher slag selling prices, so he does not expect any softening in slag and ilmenite prices. Slag, rutile and ilmenite are TiO2 feedstocks. Low TiO2 pigment production reduces mineral demand.

Fisher added that weak economic activity, high inventories and excess capacity will push TiO2 prices down while increased mineral feedstock prices are likely to further reduce producers' margins.

"The underlying problem is weak economic activity", he said.

"Prices are experiencing strong push back as some pigment suppliers are aggressive to increase sales volumes. Still high inventories will frustrate pigment producers to stabilize prices. I see more downward movement," he added.

According to ICIS, TiO2 prices are at €2.40-2.55/kg ($3.16-3.35/tonne) free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE)

($1 = €0.76)

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By: Janos Gal
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