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Thursday, 29 June 2017

Titan dioxide: difficult times for coating manufacturers!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017 | Posted by: Kirsten Wrede, European Coatings Journal

For quite some time now, we have informed you about a fairly unpleasant fact: costs for coating manufacturers have risen significantly during the last months. Not least because of increasing raw material prices. And now the fire in Pori, Finland, which has struck at difficult times…

We have covered this fire in only recently.

It started on 30 January at Huntsman’s titanium dioxide manufacturing facility in Pori, Finland. Pori has a capacity of 130,000 metric tons, which represents approximately 15% of Huntsman’s total titanium dioxide capacity and approximately 10% of total European demand. Huntsman is committed to repairing the facility as quickly as possible.

But: a shortage of the tio2 supply on the market and significant price increases are direct consequences of the disaster.

Now, of all times, when prices for raw materials like titan dioxide are high and will become even higher, as experts say.

Two examples:

On 6 February, Chemour announced a price increase for all "Ti Pure” tio2 grades sold in North Amerika, Canada, Asia Pacific, Latin Amerika, Europe, Middle East and Africa, taking effect on 1 March.

Huntsman followed on 9 February with a global price increase for all tio2 pigments, taking effect on 1 March (North America) and 1 April, respectively (Europe, Africa, Middle East, Latin America, Asia-Pacific).

Further shortage result from a decrease in tio2 exports from China to Europe, as market experts told us.

To make matters worse, the discussion about the proposal of the French authorities to classify titan dioxide as carcinogen is still completely open (compare our interview with Dr Martin Engelmann, CEO of the German paint manufacturers association VdL, in the European Coatings Journal, December issue 2016).

So what can you do? How do you cope with this difficult situation regarding supply, prices and political debate? What will the upcoming months bring about? I’m anxious to hear your opinions!

By the way, the second, completely revised edition of "Titanium Dioxide - Production, Properties and Effective Usage" by Jochen Winkler contains a wealth of information on the properties and use of titanium dioxide pigments.

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