TiO2, ilmenite markets watch for disruption from coronavirus outbreak
Published: Thursday, 30 January 2020
Titanium dioxide and ilmenite traders are closely watching the rapid spread of a coronavirus infection in central China, with cases reported in many of the industry’s production centers.
China is the world’s principal producer of
titanium dioxide, and is a major importer of feedstocks such as
ilmenite and rutile.
On Wednesday January 29, Chinese media reported the first
death from a coronavirus infection in Sichuan, the major
location for the mining of ilmenite and production of TiO2.
Xiangyuan, in the province of Hubei, is another major
ilmenite producing region. It lies about 250km northwest of
Wuhan, where the infection has been most prominent, but has not
been put under quarantine in the way that Wuhan has.
Ilmenite import prices remained steady on January 30, with
importers reported to have strong stocks. Market activity was
very slow, however, because of the Chinese new year
Fastmarkets on January 30 assessed the price of ilmenite concentrate, 47-49% TiO2, cif
China, at $200-220 per tonne, unchanged week on week.
Shanghai, the port from which most of China’s
TiO2 exports leave, had recorded a total of 112 confirmed cases
of coronavirus as of January 30.
But activity there has also stalled for the lunar new year
celebrations, with no change in offer prices reported over the
"The office in China is closed [due to the coronavirus
situation]," a North America-based trader told Fastmarkets. "I
don’t know when they’ll return to
Fastmarkets assessed the price of titanium dioxide pigment, high quality, bulk
volume, cfr Asia, at $2,200-2,550 per tonne on Thursday,
unchanged week on week.