Titanium dioxide (TiO2) producers are pushing price increases, saying demand is rising again. All major producers of TiO2 have been reported price increase of all TiO2 grades sold across the world. Major TiO2 manufacturers include: DuPont, Huntsman Corp, Kemira Oyj, Kronos Worldwide, Cristal Global, Schtleben and Tronox Inc.

In August, 2009 all TiO2 grades sold in North America are expected to see a price increase of USD 0.03 / lb where for rest of the world it would be US$ 100-150/ MT. This price increase would be in additional to price increase announced by most of these global players in May, 2009.

Kronos Worldwide Inc. is increasing prices for all Kronos TiO2 grades sold in Europe and Eastern Europe by 100 Euro / MT, US$ 0.03 / lb in North America and for rest of the world including Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East, Africa and Asia by a minimum of US$ 100 / MT.

The pigments division of Huntsman Corporation also announced price increase for Europe by 100 Euro / MT or by US$ 150/ MT in dollar based market, US$ 0.03 / lb in North America and US$ 150/ MT in Africa, Latin America and Middle East.

Similar kind of price increase effort has been noticed for all DuPont™ Ti-Pure® titanium dioxide (TiO2) grades and for all Cristal Globals Tiona® and Cristal titanium dioxide products.

"After a brief period of improved profitability last year, margins have returned to very low levels at a time when demand is improving and some modest investment is needed to return assets to full capability." said John Hall, Vice President ,Commercial (Cristal Global).

In the month of May & June 2009 all these producers already announced a price increase by US$ 0.02 / lb in North America and about US$ 100/ MT for rest of the world which also supposed to be effective from August 1, 2009 or as per contract permits. Two stage price increase effort by all this companies in short period of time leading to a total price increase of US$ 0.05/lb in North America and US$ 200-250 / MT for rest of the world.

But buyers are showing lack of interest to accept any price increase effort to raise quarterly contact prices. Ample supplies of the respective chemical backing their stand and also they are giving reason of tightening financial conditions.

In Asian region TiO2 pigment has been traded at 2490-2765 US$ / Mt level considering CFR value for last fortnight, while Anatase Grade traded at much lower level. China being the most cost competitive offering Anatase Grade at 1040-1470 US$/ Mt level, FOB Chinese main port. North Europe price level for this pigment remains steady at 2105-2355 Euro / Mt CIF Rotterdam and same with USA at a level of 2355-2580 US$/ Mt considering CIF value. Latin Americas CIF value can be quoted at 1.07-1.19 US$/ lb.

But there is a decline at higher level buying interest in USA as higher level price declined by about 40 US$/ Mt. this week compare to last week. Similarly, in Asia TiO2 pigment, price level has been declined by 45-50 US$/ Mt. This clearly shows price increase efforts by most the major producers of this pigment are unable to create any high impact.

But Latin America shows some ray of hopes, as there TiO2 pigment price level has been increased by 2 ct / lb compare to last week. Lack of domestic production in Latin America creates export opportunity for major producers from rest of the world.

Chinese TiO2 Production Capacity Expansion 2009-2010

As most of the titanium dioxide pigment industry staggers from severely low demand, Chinese expansions are expected to double domestic capacity to 2.7m. tpa within a year.

China, which presently produces about 1.17m tpa, has not escaped the impact of slow market demand but has reacted differently by expanding production capacity.