FOCUS facilities located at: Beltsville, MD and St Louis, MO (United States), Walluf (Germany), Turin (Italy) and Fuyang (China). The company is spending $115 M to build a new iron oxide pigments plant on a greenfields site at Augusta, GA and this project should be completed before the end of next year. When the new plant is up and running, Rockwood will shut down its existing iron oxide pigment plant at St Louis and it will reduce capacity at the Beltsville plant. Besides the three industry majors, several of the medium-size suppliers are considering expansions, albeit on a smaller scale. These include: Deqing Huayuan (with a current capacity of 100,000 tonnes/y); Jiangsu Yixing Yuxing (80,000 tonnes/y); Novant (part of the Singapore-listed Noble group, with a current capacity of 50,000 tonnes/y); and Shanghai Yipin (50,000 tonnes/y). According to some observers, increasingly stringent enforcement of regulations on effluent pollution and energy efficiency will force the closure of a number of small-scale plants in China, opening up opportunities for larger companies to make up for local shortages of supply. World consumption of iron oxide pigments is expected to increase at around 2% per annum over the next 10 years and supplies are likely to be adequate to meet anticipated demand. Reg Adams
MARKETS Kronos tries again to halt the slide in TiO2 pigment prices In our last review of TiO2 pigment price trends (‘Focus on Pigments’, May 2013, 2-3), we stated: “Unless the recent initiatives by Kronos and others gain some traction, TiO2 pigment prices may well be heading down towards $3000 per tonne.” In mid-February, Kronos had pioneered price increases of $220 per tonne for North America, $270 per tonne for the European Union and $250 per tonne for all other regions of the world.
These increases had been due to take effect as from 1 March 2013. During the next three weeks, three producers – Cristal, Huntsman and Ishihara – announced similar price increases, but with later implementation dates. Huntsman’s increases were due to take effect as from 15 March 2013. In their postings, Cristal and Ishihara named 1 April 2013 as the implementation date. DuPont, Tronox and Sachtleben deliberately refrained from making any pricing announcements. In fact, actually realised TiO2 pigment selling prices have flatlined in North America and have continued to slide downwards in other regions. According to ICIS, the market price in North America has remained within the range $1.55-1.70 per pound ($3417-3748 per tonne) onwards from late December 2012. The European price range was quoted as €2.35-2.50 per kilo (equivalent to $3030-3225 per tonne) in mid-April 2013. That compares against €2.82-2.95 per kilo ($3628-3795 per tonne) in early October 2012. In Asia/Pacific, the price fall has been steepest of all: from $3300-3700 per tonne in early October 2012 to $2700-3100 per tonne in mid-April 2013. In an attempt to show its determination to halt the price slide, Ishihara announced that it was suspending production at its 54,000 tonnes/y plant in Singapore for eight weeks to end-June 2013. Meanwhile, Indian and Chinese suppliers reported lower prices for locally produced pigment. Shipments of Indian TiO2 are currently on offer at Rup 165 per kilo, with volume discounts of Rup 7-20 per kilo available. A price of Rup 145 per kilo, ex-works, is equivalent to $2635 per tonne. At mid-April 2013, Chinese supplies of rutile pigment grades were priced at Rmb Yuan 14.40-15.00 per kilo (equivalent to $2330-2427 per tonne), exwarehouse. With most Chinese plants operating at low capacity utilisation rates, pricing sentiment remains bearish. At a teleconferenced seminar presenting Kronos’ financial results for the first quarter on 8 May, Mr Steve Watson (Chief Executive) said: “Industry data indicates that overall TiO2 pigment inventory held by producers has been significantly
decreased. In addition, we believe most customers hold very low inventories of TiO2, with many operating on a just-in-time basis. Shortages of certain TiO2 grades have recently occurred, and lead times for delivery are increasing. We will align our own pigment production levels and inventories according to near-term customer demand levels.” On the day after the teleconferenced seminar, Kronos issued a new set of price increases, all of which are scheduled to take effect as from 1 June 2013. It is interesting to note that the announced increases are identical to those announced three months ago. For customers in North America, the posted increase was $0.10 per pound ($220 per tonne). For customers in Europe (including Turkey), the posted increase was €200 per tonne (equivalent to $258 per tonne). For East European customers preferring to be invoiced in US dollars, the posted increase was $250 per tonne. For customers in markets outside North America and Europe, the posted increase was $250 per tonne. So far, none of Kronos’s competitors has shown signs of following Kronos’ lead. Original Source: ICIS Chemical Business, 23 Apr 2013 & 10 May 2013, (Website: http://icischemicalbusiness.com) © Reed Business Information Limited 2013
India imposes a new set of carbon black anti-dumping duties The Indian Government’s Ministry of Finance has announced a new set of anti-dumping duties on imports into India of carbon black from Australia, China, Thailand and Russia. The new duties will be valid until 29 July 2014, by which time they will be reviewed again for possible withdrawal, extension or modification. Carbon black from Thailand will attract anti-dumping duty at the rate of $186 per tonne or pro rata down to the nearest kilo. Corresponding rates will be: $330 per tonne for Australian material, $391 per tonne for Russian material and $423 per tonne for Chinese material. Original Source: Business Line, 30 Apr 2013, 20 (120), 4 (Website: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/) © The Hindu Business Line 2013