As the supply continued to decline in Europe and underlying healthy demand, some insiders acknowledge that the general price tendency is up for Q1 contracts. However, the price increases vary greatly, depending on the source, quantity and end sector. It is often heard that price rises of closely either side of €100/tonne for the downstream paints/coatings sector. In areas of particular shortage, the price increase for certain grades in the first quarter have risen more than €200/tonne. And the lowest price increases of €20-30/tonne have so far been recorded for large volume consumers.
As the price gap between chloride based and sulphate based TiO2 pigments continues to grow, in OKCHEM's view, buyers who have the ability to switch between the two would have greater incentive to procure sulphate-based TiO2 in order to save on costs. Some buyers feedback that import sulphate based TiO2 product from China are very economically attractive when compared to chloride based TiO2 product.
Although the seasonal factors are low, the demand for this year is still good. Chinese domestic titanium dioxide market continues to rise, this may affected by tight supply and the strong demand. The stricter enforcement of environmental protection measures led to the closure of some downstream factories. Driven by higher crude oil prices, prices have risen sharply in the petrochemical industry in recent months. Though the globally tight supply and environmental strictures in Asia continues, Asia primarily still affects mostly the spot markets.
According to the latest news, Taihai Group in Panzhihua issued that from Jan 12, 2018, Rutile Titanium Dioxide from Taihai for Chinese domestic price increase 500 yuan per ton, and 50 dollars per ton to international customers. In the short term, the market price of titanium dioxide is strong and steady. Meanwhile, because of Chinese environmental protection policy, supply is also expected to remain tight owing to the ongoing cutbacks in production output.