Speaking at the 2017 China TiO2 Industry Annual
Meeting, Sheng Bi of the China Chemical Industry Productivity
Promotion Center has forecast an increase in the numbers of
domestic TiO2 producers and output in 2017.
At the 2017 China TiO2 Industry Annual Meeting,
held in Chongqing on November 18, Sheng Bi, the director of the
titanium dioxide (TiO2) branch of the China Chemical
Industry Productivity Promotion Center, made a presentation on
the current and future TiO2 production and output
levels in China.
In 2016, China’s TiO2 capacity was
3.06 million tonnes per year and output was 2.6 million tpy,
increasing by 11.8% year-on-year. This means that the
capacity utilization rate reached 84.97% in 2016, up by 9.05%
from the 75.92% utilization rate reached in 2015.
The output included 1.97 million tonnes of rutile type
TiO2, 474,740 tonnes of anatase type and 153,363
tonnes of non-pigment TiO2, accounting for 75.82%,
18.28% and 5.9%, respectively.
Bi expects output to increase to 2.7 million tonnes this
year; business is improving, the price keeps increasing and
supply and demand is becoming balanced. Environmental
protection, however, is the main pressure on output, especially
since during the second quarter of 2017 all major and minor
producers were affected.
In 2016, there were 39 TiO2 producers in
'normal’ production status after many small-sized
producers were shut down during the 2012-15 depression and the
recovering business brought back some dead producers.
In 2017, the number of producers exceeds 39, and some
projects that were halted now want to revive operations and
are waiting for investment, Bi explained.
The positive situation in 2016 and 2017 was supported by
consecutive, large volume exports, which reduced pressure on
the internal market. Export quantities increased by 33.8% on an
annual basis in 2016, while in January-September 2017 exports
increased by 10.78% year-on-year, and are expected to exceed
800,000 tonnes for the whole of 2017.
Price increase notices from domestic producers, however,
were questioned by Bi because it appeared that some producers
were just following the actions of others and their prices did
not actually need to rise at all.
For example, when leading international companies such as
Chemours or Kronos increased their prices, domestic producers
immediately followed. But their products have different
qualities, applications, end-markets and supply-demand
situations, so one product price increase should not mean an
increase for all products.
Industrial Minerals assessed the titanium dioxide pigment,
high quality, bulk volume, cfr Asia price at $2,700-3,100 per
tonne on November 26, flat from July 27. But this was a
$500-900 per tonne increase from the price of $1,800-2,600 per
tonne assessed at the beginning of 2017, and a $1,050-1,240 per
tonne rise from the $1,650-1,860 per tonne assessed at the
beginning of 2016.
Domestic producers should realize that the TiO2
industry will not undergo the rare booming phenomenon of 2016
again, Bi warned.
Producers should be realistic, he added, and should focus on
carrying out the fundamental task of environmental protection
correctly, because adhering to the stricter environmental
standards and inspection levels is the only way to achieve
'normal’ production status accreditation and
ensure that production restarts.