Titanium Dioxide market proves resilient to downturn

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Titanium dioxide

Demand for high purity anatase titanium dioxide (TiO2) in sunscreen and tooth whitening formulations means sales are likely to remain steady despite the downturn, says a market report.

The refined chemical is used in personal care formulations to give opacity and thickness, but where it has really taken off is for its oral care whitening properties and its protection against ultraviolet light in sun care products.

Titainium dioxide is also used in standard-grade formats in paints and plastics, segments that are being severely hit by an economic downturn that has decimated many parts of the manufacturing and construction industries.

Personal care helps to buoy overall TiO2 demand

But in its more refined format, demand from personal care producers is helping to buoy many chemical suppliers businesses, as orders from formulators remain relatively steady.

Although the personal care industry accounts for only 10 per cent of the total market for titanium dioxide, it is continuing to fair much better than other segments of the market because of this continued demand.

The ICIS report cites a senior manager at chemicals company Bay MaterialScience who estimates that in the first quarter of this years demand for titainium dioxide from personal care companies will fall by about 1 – 2 percent, while overall demand for the chemical will fall by 5 – 7 percent.

Mineral make-up fuels demand

Besides tooth whitening products and sunscreen, another segment of the personal care category that is feeding demand for titanium dioxide is mineral make-up.

Indeed, in the US alone, the supply of titanium dioxide to formulators of this type of make-up product increased from $4.5m in 2005, to a staggering $149m by 2007, the ICIS pricing report states.

Indeed, the report concludes that demand from personal care formulators producing technically advanced, highly functional products is likely to ensure a greater degree of stability in the overall market for titanium dioxide.

Looking to the future, the report highlights a glimmer of hope stressing that there is a possibility that demand for titanium dioxide for personal care purposes could even show signs of a return to growth by this summer.

Related topics Formulation & Science

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