TiO2 to trail in 2016
Price declines for titanium dioxide (TiO2)
reported in the final quarter of 2015 have not taken the market
to a floor, industry sources told IM in
They said that the latest cuts in prices have come as
producers offer cheaper deals on higher-quality types of
TiO2 – with every quarter of 2015 yielding
fresh discounts. More could be seen in 2016, industry observers
In Q2, manufacturers of the pigment chemical had mooted
their intention to keep prices stable and not give in to
pressure from buyers, however the growing surplus of supply,
coupled with the reversal of rising prices in China, forced
producers to renege on these intentions.
The global TiO2 industry is now fiercely
competitive, with many companies said to be operating on the
narrowest of margins and even selling some grades at a
Both suppliers and consumers of TiO2 in the
paints and paper industries have suggested that sliding prices
could come to a halt in H1 2016 if the sector decides
collectively to take a stand on margin pressure.
If rutile, ilmenite and leucoxene prices also continue to
fall, TiO2 companies may find they have more room to
manoeuvre on margins.
Negotiations for 2016 contracts were reported to be taking
place in December and prices are expected to remain flat into
Titanium dioxide pigment, high quality, bulk volume,
CFR Asia $1,650-1,850/tonne
Titanium dioxide pigment, bulk volume, CIF Northern
Titanium dioxide pigment, bulk volume, CIF US
Titanium dioxide pigment, bulk volume, CIF Latin
Samarium may fare better than other light rare
Prices for samarium metal and oxide tracked those of other
rare earth elements in 2015. Prices for oxide material stood at
just $1.9-2.9/kg FOB China in December, down from prices of
$5-7/kg 12 months previously.
Sources said that demand for samarium had been weak
throughout the year and that the proportion of excess supply
continued to stack up against demand, pulling prices down and
meaning that they are unlikely to recover in the near term.
Samarium benefits from a wider application base than other
low value light rare earths like cerium. The element is used as
a catalyst in certain organic reactions. Samarium iodide
(SmI2) is used by organic research chemists to make
synthetic versions of natural products.
The oxide, samaria, is used for making special infrared
adsorbing glass and cores of carbon arc-lamp electrodes and as
a catalyst for the dehydration and dehydrogenation of ethanol.
As a compound with cobalt (SmCo5), the element is
used in making a type of permanent magnet material.
Magnets have been highlighted as one of the few growing
markets for rare earths and industry sources told
IM that samarium could see a reversal in its
price trend sooner than other light rare earths if the pace of
expansion in this sector picks up.
The main challenge facing samarium at present is
availability of supply.
Chinese output of samarium remains high, but some industry
observers have predicted that prices for both the oxide and the
metal could stabilise or even begin to rise by the second half
of next year.
Cerium oxide, min 99%, FOB, China, bulk
Dysprosium oxide, min 99%, FOB, China, bulk
Europium oxide, min 99%, FOB, China, bulk
Lanthanum oxide, min 99%, FOB, China, bulk
Neodymium oxide, min 99%, FOB, China, bulk
Praseodymium oxide, min 99%, FOB, China, bulk
Samarium oxide, min 99%, FOB, China, bulk
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(it may have changed more than once during the month). All
prices are listed in US$ and quoted per tonne unless