Price and market trends: Europe TiO2 producers begin price increase announcements

27 June 2014 09:43 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

Buyers are resistant, saying supply is plentiful and downstream markets are not spectacular

European titanium dioxide (TiO2) producers have begun to announce price increases for Q3, market sources said on 17 June.

One producer said that it has announced and successfully implemented price increases with some of its customers, and the negotiations with others are still ongoing.

It said: “Demand is OK in all regions for plastics and paper; inventories continue to go down; [there is] nothing exciting.”

According to market players over the last two weeks, many have received price increase notifications generally ranging from €100-150/tonne.

Lack of support
The reaction from the buyers’ end of the market has been negative, with several players saying that there are no good arguments to support a price increase in the market at this time.

In general, purchasers do not report difficulty in obtaining product, and business in downstream markets such as paper, ink and polycarbonate plastics is reportedly good but not spectacular.

One distributor said: “At the moment we don’t feel [a] shortage; there’s no problem to get merchandise. There are announcements of price increases but as far as I know just announcements.”

It said that it would be attempting to buy at the previous quarter’s prices, later adding: “Some manufacturers might succeed in raising prices. The big ones which announced raises will get it from ‘addicted’ customers – the ones which have firm recipes.”

“I don’t see anything dramatic happening – maybe there will be some small rises.”

One buyer who purchases for the paper industry said that it did not expect the producers’ increases to go through as announced, and speculated that there might be no increases in price for the next quarter.

However, it also noted that buyers might be taken off guard if the increase does go through, due to numerous failed attempts to raise prices in the past.

It added: “It [demand] is good in western Europe; GDP is not so bad. Our business is not so bad, but we are much smaller than the plastics industry.”

Another buyer said: “I personally would not consider them [the price increases] as being pushed through because we do not see much room due to balanced demand and oversupply from China.”

By Chris Barker