Summary: The mainstream prices of TiO2 maintained stability in the recent slack season and some manufacturers lowered their prices slightly. In the short term, prices of dominant producers will still remain strong while some producers will face increasing cost pressure; the TiO2 market is likely to be weak and market prices will vary for each transaction.
In H1 2021, with the global and domestic macroeconomic recovery, the performance of China's titanium dioxide (TiO2) market had improved continuously and TiO2 ex-works prices had been on the rise from the beginning of this year to late June. However, in July, TiO2 demand was in slack season and prices of raw material, ilmenite, went down; major TiO2 manufacturers still had abundant orders and their inventories were at a low level; thus their prices still had reason to remain strong. In contrast, quotations of some manufacturers eased off and consequently, the price difference widened gradually. The overall TiO2 price was at a low level. Many TiO2 market participants hold wait-and-see attitudes; traders are cautious about procurement and they mainly purchase an adequate amount of the product on demand.
In terms of raw material, ilmenite prices in the Panxi Area (Panzhihua and Xichang cities, Sichuan Province) declined in July. The overall ilmenite market was depressed. Prices of small and medium ore producers displayed a downward trend and prices of large factories mainly kept stable. Operating rates of miners were at a low level due to environmental inspection; the production of most manufacturers was restricted and market supply of ilmenite descended significantly for large manufacturers in the Panxi Area had maintenance plans. The ilmenite market is likely to remain weak in the near future as downstream TiO2 prices slip under low operating rates.
Currently, domestic TiO2 demand weakens in the slack season; TiO2 market is depressed as operating rates of downstream coating manufacturers are low. In the short term, prices of large TiO2 manufacturers are forecast to remain strong and some manufacturers will face increasing cost pressure and they may adjust operating rates to stabilise prices and reduce pressure. The TiO2 market is anticipated to be weak and market prices will vary for each transaction. Nevertheless, the traditional peak season "golden Sept. and silver Oct." of TiO2 will come after the end of Aug. and demand is predicted to recover at that time. In addition, export traders become active recently and market more inquiries are seen: for one thing, the price advantage of China's TiO2 appears again; for another, international customers will start a new round of procurement as domestic end users. Customers make inquiries more frequently as the purchase plans approach. The next critical period for TiO2 price trend will come when the global and domestic busy season begin after the end of the slack season—TiO2 market prices are expected to be strong at that time.
More information can be found at CCM Titanium Dioxide China Monthly Report.
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