In February, titanium dioxide (TiO2) market ushered in a big wave of price adjustments. Since 2018, nearly twenty Chinese domestic enterprises have have announced an increase in the price of titanium dioxide by 500~1000 yuan / tonne. As a result, titanium dioxide spot prices on a free on board (FOB) basis were assessed higher in the week.
The stock of titanium dioxide enterprises in China is tense at present, with the demand season comes after the Chinese Lunar Spring Festival, the price of titanium dioxide in the leading enterprise is expected to rise. And there are reasons for the firmer spot prices:
Firstly, the Chinese yuan has appreciated sharply against the US dollar since late 2017. The continuous appreciation of the Chinese yuan reduce the profits of Chinese sellers in the export market, so they turned to the domestic market for selling.
Secondly, tightening inventories in China market at present. With the constant strictness of Chinese environmental protection, the main titanium dioxide production enterprises have ushered in output cuts or close, and then cause the situation of the tight stock of titanium dioxide in China.
Thirdly, the price gap between sulphate and chloride-based TiO2 pigments has been widen over the last few months. Thus, many sulphate-based TiO2 producers seeking price increments to close the gap with chloride-based materials.
With the end of the Lunar Spring Festival (February 21st), there soon will comes the peak season for production in China and many regions in Asia in the coming months. A consensus in the industry is that titanium dioxide will have a better market until May this year. Supply fundamentals are unlikely to have any significant changes in the short term.
Due to the low winter season in European market, supply is slightly more relaxed for standard grade titanium dioxide. And some buyers reflected that supply of standard grade TiO2 is sufficient, but some believe this may be temporary. It is expected that the healthy demand will be further increased as peak demand is realised during the US spring paint and coatings season in the second quarter.