Lomon Billions: TiO2 price may rise further

By Albert Li
Published: Friday, 07 July 2017

Titanium dioxide prices are expected to continue climbing amid strong demand in domestic and export markets, according to Chinese producer.

Chinese TiO2 producer Lomon Billions expects prices of the pigment to increase further despite a recent drop in domestic ilmenite prices, while demand continues to grow both internally and in export markets.

In a recent statement to investors addressing questions from securities companies, Qingfei Shen, secretary of the board at Lomon, stated that the demand, supply and price scenario in the TiO2 market is currently stable, following a steady increase over the past year.

Although there was some fluctuation during the rainy season which has led to domestic ilmenite prices to fall, the export market is performing well: prices are stable and orders are on the rise.

Outside China, Cristal, Huntsman and Chemours announced price increases for June and July, creating a pricing edge for domestic TiO2 over international material.

China’s TiO2 exports between January and April increased 15% year-on-year, which Lomon said was more than originally expected.

Commenting on the recent ilmenite price drop seen in June on the domestic market, Shen said it is unlikely that it will prompt a drop in TiO2 prices, because the reduction has so far been limited.

Ilmenite prices previously surged in a short space of time, between April and May, due to widespread environmental inspections taking place in Sichuan. At that time, buyers bought a lot to prepare against a tightening in supply, so it is comprehensible that prices are now falling after that phase.

In addition, now the inventory is low because most of the large producers are fully booked for the next two months – which is also supporting prices.

Future price upticks

Shen said that the company has sufficient orders booked until August, although downstream industries might be affected by the rainy season, after which purchases may return to normal. At that point, there is a chance prices could rise further, he added.

Furthermore, downstream demand is growing in both domestic and foreign markets, especially in developing destinations such as India, Brazil, South-east Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

European demand is also on the up, especially after the fire accident at Huntsman’s facility, which tightened TiO2 supply for ink applications.

Regarding Lomon’s chloride route TiO2 product, Shen said that both quality and output are growing, and that the company remains focused on increasing its share in the chloride route space.