Polyvinyl chloride Prices, markets & analysis
For those looking to keep abreast of the global Polyvinyl chloride market, our independent, unbiased pricing information, news and market analysis is an invaluable resource.
Whether you buy or sell Polyvinyl chloride or related products, you need to know about the prices and the factors driving the prices in the global Polyvinyl chloride market as they happen. Our network of price reporters throughout Asia, Europe and the US provide key local insights. We collate this intelligence into daily and weekly price reports, ensuring you have the up-to-date information you need at all times.
Polyvinyl chloride overview Transcript
Polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC is a plastic resin. Its feedstocks are chlorine and ethylene. Its main end use for PVC is in the construction industry with pipes and profiles, windows and doors accounting for a large proportion of consumption.
Other applications include the automotive industry, cables and flooring.
The key driver in the market tends to be season led. Spring and summer are the strongest periods of construction activity. Movement in feedstock ethylene and chlorine prices also impact the PVC market as do events in the wider chloralkali chain as producers have to balance the electrochemical unit in order to make the business profitable.
The economy is also a key driver for PVC as downstream construction is strongly linked with GDP. The outlook for the market is unclear, but it is widely agreed that future growth will be largely driven by the emerging economies of Asia, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe.
Demand in the Eurozone is widely expected to contract as state measures delay public investment in construction. New plants coming on stream in Asia, Middle East, central and Eastern Europe will mean more competition for developed economies.
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Polyvinyl chloride: Market overview
The global outlook for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) appears to be on a surer footing, particularly in the US, in mid-2013 after a lacklustre 2012. Worldwide demand for PVC fell significantly during the economic crisis of 2007-09, and has been slow to recover, particularly in the US and Europe.
But a long-awaited recovery in the US home-building sector, a key consumer segment for PVC, seemed to be finally taking hold by mid-2013, with generally improving signs of builder and consumer sentiment, despite problems with credit availability.
During periods of stagnation in North America, US producers looked to Latin America as a key export market for PVC, and demand there continues to be steady.
In Europe, however, volatile economic conditions have continued to put pressure on the PVC market and the rest of the chlor-alkali industry. But in recent weeks, there have been tentative signs of improvement.
In Asia, market sentiment has improved since a steady decline in prices from March to July. A spate of forthcoming turnarounds and lowered spot supply brought about by reduced operating rates lent upward support to prices. Most northeast Asian producers lowered their plant operating rates to balance the squeezed margins from lacklustre sales and to manage more effectively high electricity costs during the summer.
Monsoon season in March and the return of market participants from the Eid holidays also brought about greater market activity, as buyers looked to replenish dwindled inventories.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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Polyvinyl chloride news & analysis
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About Polyvinyl chloride
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) occurs as white, amorphous, odourless powder. It is soluble in nitrobenzene, cyclohexanone, and tetrahydrofuran but insoluble in vinyl chloride. It is resistant to dilute alkalis and acids but is attacked by concentrated nitric and chromic acids.
Two types of PVC homopolymer are produced: rigid resins which are inflexible and hard; and flexible resins which contain a large proportion of plasticiser to make them soft and can be stretched. Products made from rigid PVC include pipe and conduit and roofing tiles.
Flexible PVC finds outlets in wire and cable coating, flooring, coated fabrics and shower curtains. Other outlets for flexible PVC are film and sheet and flooring.
Polymerisation is normally performed at 40-70oC with the vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) in a liquid state under pressure in a batch reactor. Suspension polymerisation is the most common PVC process because the resins produced are the most versatile and suitable for a wide range of applications.
The resin produced from the polymerisation process is hard and brittle and requires conversion into a compound by the incorporation of additives such as plasticisers, modifiers, stabilisers and processing aids before conversion into finished products.
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