During both the production process at the TiO2 producer and the manufacturing process of paints, coatings and composite materials, avoiding the coagulation and agglomeration of the TiO2 dispersion is important. Surface chemistry of the TiO2 dispersion can be controlled during the measurement of Electrokinetic Sonic Amplitude (ESA) by regulating the pH value, e.g. for avoiding flocculation of dispersion.
TiPMC believes this scenario sets up the TiO2 industry for a roller coaster impact throughout the next several months. The implications of a weaker Chinese economy will be involved in a balancing act with reduced Chinese production and increasing Chinese production costs.
The differentiation among TiO2 products is not only growing but impacting supply and demand. Customers and suppliers alike are recognizing inventories and pricing more as “sulfate vs. chloride”, which in reality deals more with the quality of products accepted within differential segments – and having their own supply/demand dynamics.
PCI recently met with Bryan Snell, President of Chemours Titanium Technologies, to discuss the current state of the industry, challenges customers face when purchasing TiO2 and a new initiative that Chemours is offering to offset some of these challenges - the Ti-Pure™ Value Stabilization (TVS) customer model.
Pricing is beginning to reflect destocking coming to a close. Based on recent reports and trade data, TiPMC foresees prices stabilized in all regions during the traditionally strong demand period of 2Q, with price increases gaining traction toward the end of the quarter in specific regions.
The TiO2 industry worldwide is encountering difficulties and challenges short term, although there are some signs of hope. The trade wars, the potential of recession in the European economy, and political tensions in the Middle East are showing up in trade statistics, and they directly relate to TiO2 demand.
Even though it can be considered to be still in the early state, China’s e-commerce will definitely grow fast in the near future, and enable a supportive consumer and supplier analysis. The data crawled from news and industry websites as well as from search engines and e-commerce platforms help to monitor, understand and forecast the trend of TiO2 in China and worldwide.
Economic sentiment remains strong globally, and is expected to remain so through 2018. Demand for TiO2 is robust, with both a strong housing market and healthy automobile sales. TiO2 demand growth for 2017 is forecast at around 2%, with 6.1 million tonnes in demand for 2017-2018.