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Manufacturers suffer from TiO2 price rises


Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is the most widely used industrial white pigment because of its brightness and very high refractive index, notes Wrexham, UK-based Silvergate Plastics. Around 4 million tonnes of pigmentary TiO2 is consumed annually worldwide, with most used to provide whiteness and opacity in plastics manufacture.
Recent years have seen the pigment suffer a significant price rise affecting plastics manufacturers worldwide, according to Silvergate executive director Chris Spooner. He commented: “I am staggered at the magnitude and frequency of increases.”
With effect from 1 September, DuPont Titanium Technologies announced a net price increase of €500 per tonne, or as permitted by contract, for all TiO2 grades in countries where invoicing is in Euros – namely western and central Europe and north Africa. From the same date, and for western Europe, eastern Europe and Turkey, Kronos Worldwide announced a minimum increase of €500 per tonne “in addition to the increases previously announced.”
Other manufacturers have implemented a number of TiO2 price rises, reports Spooner: “Cristal, and Tronox, for example, have announced price rises to US$0.25 per pound.”
Spooner updated PRW as follows: “Full €500 per tonne increases have been implemented for 2011 Q4, as opposed to the usual €200-250 per tonne rises of which we have seen several. Increases are driven by the cost of TiO2 ore, in which there is global under-capacity. New investment in TiO2 mining and processing is planned, but this will not come on stream in the near future. TiO2 is the best white pigment for use in plastics. There is no "drop in" substitute, but we are working hard to establish close alternatives. The expectation is that the trend in price increases will continue throughout 2012.”


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