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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Upstream of Polyvinyl chloride
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Polyvinyl chloride: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2016
The European polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market is expected to be stable-to-soft in Q3, with domestic demand anticipated to cool off in Q3 due to holidays in southern Europe.
On the other hand, export demand should pick up following the end of Ramadan in Turkey.
Feedstock outlooks are uncertain due to the volatile crude oil market. The UK’s recent vote to leave the EU is expected to lead to further economic uncertainty and also to drive down the GBP against the dollar, which could render UK production more competitive globally.
Due to robust buying activities for July-loading PVC volumes in Asia, especially in the key market of India, PVC market players were bullish for the August-loading period, stating that PVC prices had bottomed out in July. In addition, PVC demand in India was expected to surge once this year’s bumper monsoon starts to retreat around September this year.
In the US, tight supply on plant maintenances and unplanned outages in the US PVC market during the second quarter is expected to return to balance during July and bring price stability back to the US market during the third quarter. The US market has enjoyed good demand growth and US domestic contracts rose six cents/lb ($132.50) from March through June and spot export prices gained $170/tonne from February through June before retreating a bit since mid-late May.
PVC markets in Latin America were softening at the end of June on direction from Asia.
Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Corporation’s (FPC) announcement of consecutive $30/tonne price decreases for PVC in Asia for June and for July were setting the pace in other global regions, including Latin America. Moderate PVC demand in Latin America is being met by ample availability, even after feedstock supply was interrupted with the explosion of the vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plant in Mexico.
The outlook for Brazil and Venezuela remains grim for the balance of 2016 because of continuing political and economic issues. Conditions were expected to improve in Argentina by year-end, as the country adjusts to new policies established by the business-friendly government elected at the end of 2015.
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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.
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