The US market for Titanium Tetrachloride has experienced volatile prices due to challenging conditions in the construction industry. Key inputs, including Titanium Tetrachloride, have been affected by the downturn in construction and automotive sectors, leading to sufficient availability of finished stocks. In mid-June, Natural Gas prices rose as inventories fell below expectations. However, due to adequate inventory levels and weak demand from China, prices remained on the lower side. Towards the end of Q2, downstream production facilities operated at reduced rates due to ample availability of finished goods. Manufacturers have been cautious about high inventory levels, as economic conditions in the Western market remain sluggish. Weak manufacturing has led to a contraction in the Purchasing Manager Index. Container availability at US ports has been sufficient, allowing for unimpeded movement of finished goods.
The price of Titanium Tetrachloride in China has seen a downward trend in the second quarter of 2023. The decline in procurement from downstream industries like construction and automotive, along with subdued inquiries from the Western market, has contributed to this decline. Despite increased production after lifting COVID restrictions, demand from the construction industry hasn’t picked up significantly. Manufacturers have had to revise their quotations to clear existing inventories due to elevated stocks. Weak demand from Western markets, influenced by increasing interest rates and inflation, has further dampened the market momentum. As a result, exports from China have declined by 7.5% in May compared to the previous year. The manufacturing purchasing manager index has remained in contraction territory throughout Q2, indicating reduced production levels. The price of Titanium Tetrachloride Ex-Tianjin was assessed at USD 995 per ton in June.
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The price of Titanium Tetrachloride in the French market has shown mixed sentiments. Initially, European manufacturers reduced production in response to an energy price spike in early Q1, resulting in limited availability of Titanium Tetrachloride. However, they increased their workforce in early Q2 to meet rising production levels. The supply side remained stable, with low freight charges and normal functioning of the supply chain. Despite these efforts, inquiries from the construction and automotive industries did not see significant improvement in the latter part of Q2. As a result, manufacturers have reduced their prices. The fall in TTF natural gas prices contributed to reduced manufacturing costs, but inflationary pressures have increased, posing risks to price realizations. Inflation rose to 6.1% in May, further impacting the demand dynamics of Titanium Tetrachloride. The construction sector has remained lackluster throughout the second quarter of 2023.
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