US PVC spot, export prices rise on increased demand

18 January 2013 22:58  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Spot and export prices for US polyvinyl chloride (PVC) were assessed higher for the week that ended 18 January, as market participants said on Friday that increasing demand was offset by constricted supply.

Planned and unplanned outages in the last weeks of 2012 accounted for the constricted supply, driven in part by a force majeure declared by PPG Industries on vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) after a late-December fire at its Lake Charles chlor-alkali facility in Louisiana.

Spot prices for US PVC are assessed at 45-49 cents/lb ($992-1,080/tonne, €744-810/tonne). Export prices are assessed at $980-1,000/tonne. Spot prices last week were assessed at 44-48 cents/lb and export prices were at $950-975/tonne.

Several US producers have announced price increases of 3 cents/lb ($66/tonne, €50/tonne), while another has announced a 5 cents/lb increase, effective on 1 February or as contracts allow.

Producers cited the rising cost of feedstock ethylene and an uptick in demand in preparation for the spring homebuilding season as the primary reason for the increases.

Sources said one producer was offering export material to Latin America at well below the published range. But most market participants said this was an anomaly, and the general consensus was that pricing was moving upward with little sign of decline in the short-term.

With domestic demand higher than normal, little material was available on the export market, sources said.

Major US producers of PVC include Formosa, Georgia Gulf, OxyVinyls, Shintech and Westlake.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Ken Fountain

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