Carbazole violet dumping in the US

Carbazole violet dumping in the US

F O C US Mr Larry Lie (of Yie-Lie Enterprise, Shanghai) and Mr Ian Wilson (a consultant formerly with Imerys) gave a fascinating presentation titled: ...

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F O C US Mr Larry Lie (of Yie-Lie Enterprise, Shanghai) and Mr Ian Wilson (a consultant formerly with Imerys) gave a fascinating presentation titled: “Why Chinese paper is so competitive.” Printing and writing paper grades now being produced in China tend to have significantly higher white pigment loadings than paper produced elsewhere. Pigment loadings of 4050% are already quite commonplace in China. Some of the new Chinese projects will entail paper grades containing as much as 55% white pigment. The country has fairly abundant resources of high-quality marble suitable for making GCC and located near to the major papermaking areas. By contrast, there are very few high-quality kaolin deposits. Hence, GCC is the main pigment used for filling, pre-coating and coating applications. China’s GCC production has risen from 275,000 tonnes in 1992 to about 21 M tonnes in 2009. Typically, Chinese GCC is available at prices that are significantly lower than world market prices. Current prices for pre-coat C-65 grade GCC are within the $8090 per tonne range. Coating grades are priced at $120-130 per tonne for C-95 grade and $150-160 per tonne for C-98 grade. China’s production of printing and writing papers passed the 20 M tonnes/y mark in 2009. During 2010 and 2011, another 4.6 M tonnes/y of capacity is due to come on-stream, of which 2.6 M tonnes/y coated woodfree and 2.0 M tonnes/y uncoated woodfree paper capacity. Although Chinese consumption is projected to increase rapidly, absorbing the anticipated production increase by 2014/15, there will be a substantial surplus available for export in the near-term. The Tuesday morning session began with two papers on the TiO2 feedstock and pigment industries, the first presented by Mr Eric Bender (of TZMI) and the second presented by Mr Reg Adams (of Artikol). The backto-back presentations by the key representatives from two rival database and newsletter publishers stimulated a lively question-andanswer forum. Issues debated included: the possibly adverse impact of biomedical research findings as to the carcinogenic potential of TiO2; the likely outcome of the recent lawsuit alleging price-fixing by the major US

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suppliers (See also ‘Focus on Pigments’, April 2010, 5-6); and the zircon shortage crisis foretold by TZMI and disputed by Artikol. Zircon and zirconia were the subjects of the next two papers – from Mr Ian Chalmers (of Alkane Resources, Australia) and from Mr Paul Russo (of Z-Tech, US). From a pigment industry observer’s standpoint, the other interesting paper was presented at the Wednesday morning session by Dr Chuck Kunesh (of CalciTech). He gave an in-depth description of the unique patented process developed by CalciTech (of Geneva) for producing high-purity synthetic calcium carbonate (SCC) from relatively impure by-product raw materials. Carbide lime, a by-product of polyvinyl chloride manufacture by the acetylene process, is one such raw material. Paper sludge ash, the mineral-rich residue from paper recycling facilities, is another such raw material. The SCC end-product has a high degree of chemical purity, thanks to the fact that virtually all the non-calcium contaminants are removed prior to carbonation. Even magnesium, a close chemical cousin to calcium that is present in significant quantities in all PCC products, is virtually absent from CalciTech SCC. The product has very high whiteness and brightness, coupled with extremely low abrasivity. Moreover, the SCC production process is a fine example of “green technology”: 44 tonnes of CO2 are sequestered for every 100 tonnes of SCC produced. Because of the tightening environmental regulations imposed on the paper and plastics industries, the ability of the CalciTech SCC process to convert mineral-rich wastes into a high-purity pigment should be seen as increasingly attractive. As Dr Kunesh concluded: “For this reason, among many others, the future of CalciTech’s SCC is every bit as bright as the colour of the product itself.” Mineral pigment producers were also treated to some excellent presentations by executives from some of the equipment suppliers, notably: Mr John Elder (of Outotec), discussing recent advances in highgradient magnetic separation; Mr Adrian McVeigh (of Downer-EDI), discussing the energy-efficient Kelsey axial displacement grinding mill; Mr Steve Miranda (of Netzsch), discussing jet milling and dry grinding

in the sub-micron range; Dr Valeriy Golyk (of AKW Apparate & Verfahren), discussing the use of hydrocyclones in the kaolin industry; Mr Dietmar Alber (of Hosakawa Alpine), discussing wet and dry grinding of talc and GCC; Mr JensMichael Bergmann (of Mogensen), discussing colour-sorting technology for mineral separation; and Mr Engelbert Koess (of Haver & Boecker), discussing pigment and mineral bagging technology. Reg Adams The full set of 34 conference papers can be ordered for airmail delivery. For details, please contact: Ms Victoria Cooper-Smith, Metal Bulletin Events, Nestor House, Playhouse Yard, London EC4V 5EX. Tel: +44 (0)20 7779 8989. E-mail: [email protected] Website: http://www.indmin.com/events

MARKETS Global kaolin consumption approaching 25 M tonnes/y World demand for kaolin is projected to increase 1.7% per annum from 22.8 M tonnes in 2008 to 24.8 M tonnes in 2013, according to a recent study by Freedonia (of Cleveland, OH). This rate of growth may look modest, but is much better than the global demand growth-rate witnessed during the 2003-2008 period. China is expected to overtake the US as the world’s largest market for kaolin in 2013, while Brazil will become the world’s largest exporter of kaolin in that same year. Chinese consumption is expected to increase by 1 M tonnes between 2008 and 2013, accounting for half of world growth. The main stimulus for this increase will come from the country’s burgeoning paper industry. PPCJ, Polymers, Paint, Colour Journal, Feb 2010, 200 (4545), 7 & APCJ, Asia Pacific Coatings Journal, Feb/Mar 2010, 23 (1), 6

Carbazole violet dumping in the US Another chapter in the long-running saga of carbazole violet (PV-23) dumping on the US market by certain Indian and Chinese suppliers is drawing to a close. In March 2010, the US Department of Commerce (USDC) concluded its “expedited sunset review” of the relevant anti-dumping

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FOCUS duties that have been in force for the past five years. The USDC determined that if the prevailing regime of anti-dumping duties were to be revoked, there would likely be a continuation or recurrence of dumping behaviour. Indian and Chinese suppliers were deemed to be supplying PV-23 at prices below “fair value” by weighted-average margins of: 27.23% in the case of Meghmani Pigments (formerly Alpanil); 66.59% in the case of Pidilite Industries; and 44.80% in the case of all other Indian suppliers; 12.46% in the case of GoldLink Industries; 39.39% in the case of Trust Chem; and 57.07% in the case of Nantong Haidi Chemical. Federal Register, 9 Mar 2010, 75 (45), 10759 & 16 Mar 2010, 75 (50), 12497-12498 & 25 Mar 2010, 75 (57), 14468-14469 (Website: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/advanced.html)

Japan’s carbon black demand to rise by nearly 9% in 2010 According to the country’s Carbon Black Association, the membership of which includes all the major carbon black suppliers, Japan’s carbon black consumption is expected to increase from about 700,000 tonnes in 2009 to 760,979 tonnes in 2010 – an increase of 8.7%. This will reverse the trend of steady decline in 2008 and 2009. Also, Japanese exports of carbon black, notably to China and Southeast Asia, are expected to increase by more than 10%. Japan Chemical Web, 15 Mar 2010, (Website: http://www.japanchemicalweb.jp)

Calls to remedy overcapacity crisis in China’s carbon black industry The Chinese Government’s economic planners are increasingly concerned about overcapacity in the country’s carbon black industry. Average operating rates at Chinese carbon black plants have been around the 70% level in every year since 2002. Although 2008 was quite a good year in terms of domestic consumption, carbon black capacity in China was 3.59 M tonnes/y and the average operating rate was only 68%. By contrast, average operating rates in several comparator countries were around 90% throughout most of the 2000s decade. Overcapacity in the Chinese carbon black industry has led

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to very aggressive competition on prices within the domestic market. On the other hand, large suppliers, such as Jiangsu Black Cat, point out that carbon black accounts for only 7% of the total cost of making tyres, so that product quality and reliability of supply are more important factors than price. Prior to June 2007, Chinese suppliers were able to claim a 13% tax rebate on carbon black exports, but then the Government eliminated this tax-break, so that it became less attractive for Chinese suppliers to sell carbon black to overseas customers. Effective as from 26 September 2009, the US Government imposed a special import duty on imports from China of passenger car and light truck tyres. The duty is 35% for the year to end-September 2010 and will be 30% for the following year and 25% for the year after that. The action was prompted by a complaint filed by the United Steelworkers trade union and followed an investigation by the US Department of Commerce (USDC). The USDC reported that China’s tyre production capacity had increased by 152% between 2004 and 2008 and it was projected to increase by a further 16% by 2010. China’s tyre production capacity was assessed at 235.2 M units in 2008, more than three times larger than the Chinese industry’s shipments to the domestic market. US imports of tyres from China more than trebled from 14.6 M units in 2004 to 46 M units in 2008, so that Chinese suppliers increased their market share in the US tyres market from 4.7% in 2004 to 16.7% in 2008. Meanwhile, employment in the US tyre manufacturing industry fell by 5168 between 2004 and 2008. The curtailment of Chinese tyre exports to the US market will inevitably affect China’s tyre production, which in turn will depress Chinese demand for carbon black. The most important cost factor for carbon black manufacturers is the cost of feedstock. Currently this accounts for about 85% of their cash production costs. As carbon black feedstock, most Chinese manufacturers use coal tar or “blended oil” (antharacene oil, blended with asphalt). Outside China, coal tar is rarely used as a carbon black feedstock. The most popular feedstock for non-Chinese manufacturers is “FCC oil” – clarified oil derived from

fluid catalytic cracking units at oil refineries. Now that the global crude oil price is much lower than the mid2008 peak, the price of “FCC oil” on world markets has moved downwards to a level much closer to that of coal tar in China. At the same time, demand for coal tar for applications other than carbon black manufacture has been intensifying in China, threatening the availability of supplies. Chinese carbon black producers wishing to buy imported “FCC oil” instead face paying tariffs of 3-5% plus an import tax of 17%. Because of overcapacity, adverse factors affecting exports and a squeeze on feedstock costs, Chinese carbon black manufacturers have seen a substantial erosion in their profits. Total profits in the carbon black sector were 120% lower in January-May 2009, compared against the same period of 2008. Major restructuring of the carbon black sector is called for. One remedy would be forcing the closure within a prescribed time-frame of all plants with a capacity of less than 50,000 tonnes/y, with outdated technology and equipment, high energy consumption and excessive pollutant discharge. Another remedy would be the immediate elimination of all dryprocess granulation units with a capacity of less than 15,000 tonnes/y. A third remedy would be encouraging mergers between existing Chinese producers so as to create two or three major groups with a combined carbon black capacity of 300,000 tonnes/y or more and with the ability to devote more investment towards research and development, so as to compete more effectively with the major multinationals. Wall Street Journal, 13 Sep 2009 (Website: http://online.wsj.com) & China Chemical Reporter, 26 Dec 2009, 20 (36), 19 & APCJ, Asia Pacific Coatings Journal, Feb/Mar 2010, 23 (1), 9

US spending on wood coatings & preservatives approaching $3 bn A study by Freedonia (multi-client study publishers, based in Cleveland, OH) forecasts US spending on wood protection coatings and preservatives increasing at an average rate of 2.2% per annum from $2.75 bn in 2009 to $3.0 bn in 2013. Growth will be driven by the revival in the housing market, because the residential sector is an

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