2016 is the first year of China “Thirteenth Five Years” Plan, in which is the critical moment of defeating obstacles for Chinese economy. Great opportunities and challenges exist in the same time. Professionals predicted that the GDP of China in 2016 may be 6.7% which is slower in the increasing speed compared to 2015. But in the China titanium dioxide market, after years of industry reshuffle and strict environmental inspections by the government, the market has lowered the inventory and capacity level significantly. Under such a circumstances that the economy is in dangerous condition, the titanium dioxide market embraced the “Industry Spring” in 2016.
Not only titanium dioxide products behave well in 2016, but other titanium industries also said farewell to the low price levels, including ilmenite, titanium slag, titanium tetrachloride, sponge titanium, reduction titanium, ferrotitanium, etc. There are several reasons that affect the price increases for titanium industry, including the actions to cut the capacity and inventory some years ago have been paid off; producers focus more on the quality of products and keep a relatively low operation rate; tight supply and high prices of raw materials.
An Overview of China Titanium Dioxide Market in 2016
The domestic titanium dioxide market has been rising for the whole year of 2016; the prices of titanium dioxide raised from January to December continuously even in the traditional off-seasons. The prices of rutile Tio2 have raised for 60% and anatase TiO2 have raised for 54%.
According to our statistics, since the price rise of domestic titanium dioxide market back in December, 2015, there have been 12 price hikes in 2016. Take Sichuan Lomon for example, the prices of its titanium dioxide products have raised for ￥5900/tonne ($856/tonne).
Below is the chart that shows the export volume of titanium dioxide from China in 2015-2016:
Why the Prices of Titanium Dioxide Recovered so Much This Year?
According to the statistics from the customs, the total export volume of titanium dioxide was 658,464 metric tons from Jan. to Nov., 2016, which is 36.38% more than the same period compare to the last year. The capacity of global titanium dioxide market reduced greatly this year which leads to more demand for Tio2 from China. In the same time, the rising prices in the global market and the continuous depression of RMB made the products from China more competitive.
Titanium dioxide producers across the country were inspected in certain grade by national environmental teams. Some producers were told to shut down the product line because of environmental factors almost in every month which caused a limited release of overall capacity.
The rising of prices made the downstream titanium dioxide buyers begin to recover the inventory, which showed great effect on the “removing inventories” for the whole market. For the whole year, the titanium dioxide producers did not have any inventory pressures and the spot supply for titanium dioxide was very tight for the whole year.
The prices of raw materials including ilmenite and sulphuric acid have been increasing continuously in this year which eventually reduced some profits from producers. In the later periods of the year, the prices of ilmenite and titanium dioxide market were almost moving together.
Till the end of this year, the spot supply of domestic titanium dioxide is still tight and the market is rising continuously. It is predicted that this situation will continue to the opening of 2017.
Domestic titanium dioxide market had a perfect show in 2016 which gives a great confidence to most titanium dioxide producers in the coming 2017. On the one hand, most titanium dioxide producers do not have much inventory pressures in the end of the year. On the other hand, the continue of environmental inspections may influence the supply situation in 2017, even the downstream demands are not good, the market will not be bad if the supply is controlled. Therefore, producers should not expand the capacity blindly when the market is recovering, in case the market is pulled down again.
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