Titanium sponge suppliers’ outlook dims

Oct 05, 2012 | 05:18 PM | Frank Haflich

Tags  titanium, sponge, International Titanium Association, Toho Titanium, Iluka Resources, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Titanium producers preparing to meet with their Japanese sponge suppliers to discuss next year’s requirements face a raw material environment that is significantly different than the one confronted in October 2011, observers said.

"Last year, we were all worried about buying forward," according to one buyer who was planning to attend the upcoming annual conference of the International Titanium Association in Atlanta. "Today, we’re trying to figure out how much (buying) we can safely postpone."

At this time in 2011, the cost of feedstock purchased by Japanese sponge producers was soaring. Perth, Australia-based Iluka Resources Ltd. was in the process of boosting rutile prices by 70 to 90 percent in both the second half of 2011 and first half of 2012. This translated into sponge price hikes estimated at 25 to 35 percent to domestic titanium melters this year.....

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