The drop of ilmenite import can be explained with two main reasons: the decline of the main African suppliers and increasing domestic production. This will have inevitable effects on foreign ilmenite suppliers to China, as the volume may continue to shrink.
Import analyzation of ilmenite in China
For the month September, China has imported a total amount of 194,33 tons of ilmenite. This sum represents a month on month decrease of 32.84%. In contrast, the price of the imported ilmenite increased averagely 17.78% MoM up to a tons price of $119.33, according to CCM’s analysts.
On an international view, the price of ilmenite hold a continuous increase, thanks to the proper development of the TiO2 industry worldwide. So it is no miracle, that the quoted prices from ilmenite suppliers in Africa, Europe, and America remained high. Furthermore, because of the large import volume of China’s enterprises the last month, with the ability build large inventories, the demand for ilmenite in next times can mostly be served by this reserves.
The import volume from the main suppliers worldwide developed quite different. In fact, while Kenya, Mozambique, and Australia had to experience partly huge decreases, India was able to increase their ilmenite import to China greatly.
The exact numbers are:
Kenya: 43,409 tonnes, down by 43.34% MoM
Mozambique: 30,324 tonnes, down by 59.65% MoM
Australia: 230 tonnes, down by 99.87% MoM
India: 64,416 tonnes, up by 51.11% MoM
The ilmenite manufacturers in India are about to slow down their export to China but will keep the current price of $160/t, according to the researchers of CCM. This demonstrates their positive look into China’s TiO2 future and also shows the adapting to lower import demands of Chinese manufacturers currently.
The African manufacturers of ilmenite faced huge amounts of export in the previous months. As a result of it, some of them ran low on inventory and therefore raised the quoted prices for ilmenite by 15% to 25%/t.
Production analyzation of China’s domestic manufacturers
The overall output of ilmenite from Chinese manufacturers reached 324,000 tons in Sept. 2016. This represents a month on month increase of 5.19%, according to CCM. The production is mainly focused on three key provinces in China: Shandong, Guangxi, and Yunnan.
The ilmenite market in China, in general, remains stable at the moment. Domestic manufacturers are not increasing any production, even when facing higher demand from the downstream TiO2 market and related to this, higher prices. It is also considerable, that the average quotations for 46% titanium concentration ore stay very steady with $132.87/t and show no changing trend compared to the middle of this year.
The figure shows, that the import volume of ilmenite is increasing in average, but shows some temporary fluctuation, with the peak in August this year. After the peak, the volume even fell to 200,000 tons. Not only the Quantity but also the price had some big fluctuation throughout the year. The peak of the price was on November one year ago. In June this year there was another smaller peak. At the moment, the price is rising again, in opposite to the Import volume.
The increasing price of ilmenite is not only limited to China but is seen as a phenomenon worldwide. The four biggest TiO2 manufacturing companies Huntsmen Corp.m Kronos, Tronox and Chrystal already informed clients about higher TiO2 prices, due to the fact of more expensive raw materials like ilmenite.
CCM is the leading market intelligence provider for China’s agriculture, chemicals, food & ingredients and life science markets.
Do you want to find out more about the TiO2 Market in China? Join our professional online platform today and get insights in Reports, Newsletter, And Market Data at one place. For more trade information on TiO2 visit our experts in trade analysis to get your insights today.