Our comprehensive Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) reports covered by our locally-based experts, help to keep you abreast of the latest market developments and make vital business decisions. The weekly ICIS price reports are published in Asia, China, Middle East/south Asia, CIS, Europe, the US and Latin America. Price assessments vary depending on the region and include spot, import, export, domestic and contract prices.
Our independent and unbiased commentary includes an overview of weekly market activity, demand and supply trends, production issues, upstream movements, graphs and economic news.
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 news and market information products from ICIS
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Polyvinyl chloride: Market overview
Updated to Q2 2016
The European PVC market will tighten somewhat in the second quarter due to planned maintenances from April to June. Spot and contract demand are also both expected to be higher in the secind quarter as a result of better seasonal weather for the downstream construction industry.
The US polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market appears headed for tighter supply and higher prices in the second quarter after global prices bottomed out in late January. US spot export prices moved up $137/tonne in the last nine weeks of the first quarter and US contract prices for March rose for the first time since March of 2015.
The PVC industry sentiment in Latin America pointed to a continued pricing uptrend into May, after markets firmed in April. PVC domestic and export prices in Mexico and Colombia, and import prices in countries along the Pacific coast of South America rose in April but Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela are countering the trend.
PVC prices in Asia are likely to be firmer for the May-lifting period, but they could start to soften for the rest of the year as demand in the key India market waned from the monsoon season.
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Polyvinyl Chloride Methodology
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.