Vinyl acetate monomer Prices, markets & analysis
If you buy or sell Vinyl acetate monomer or related products, you need up-to-date global pricing data and the background information to help you understand it.
Our network of price reporters across Asia, Europe and the US enables us to deliver this. We publish their insights in our comprehensive daily and weekly price reports, plus we offer the news and analysis you need to put pricing information into context.
Vinyl acetate monomer overview Transcript
Vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) is derived from acetic acid and ethylene.
The main end-uses are: polyvinyl acetate, known as PVA and polyvinyl alcohol, known as PVOH. These go into water-based paints, adhesives, coatings and packaging.
VAM prices are impacted by upstream costs and supply demand balances. Pressure from both ethylene and acetic acid can play a significant role in price movements.
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Vinyl acetate monomer: Market overview
Vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) is used in a wide array of products, and is the precursor to polyvinyl acetate (PVA), an important polymer and primary molecule in paints and adhesives. An estimated 47% of VAM goes into PVA, while 30% goes to polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), with the remaining 23% going to ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) polymers, ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) resins and polyvinyl butyral (PVB), used in car windows.
Global VAM consumption is expected to track GDP growth, as the chemical is widely used in industrial applications. Annual global growth is predicted to be around 5% per year and concentrated in Asia, primarily China.
In Europe, VAM is heavily dependent on imports, mostly from the US, but also from the Middle East. The main producers in Europe are INEOS Enterprises and Celanese, with regular imports from LyondellBasell, Celanese, Dow Chemical and International Vinyl Acetate Company (IVC).
Spot and contract prices in Europe declined in the second quarter on lower ethylene costs. US-based Celanese has announced that it is seeking buyers for its 200,000 tonne/year VAM production unit in Tarragona, Spain.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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About Vinyl acetate monomer
Vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) is a colourless, volatile, flammable mobile liquid, with characteristic sweet etheral odour. Vinyl acetate is a dangerous fire and explosion hazard because it will polymerise violently when exposed to heat.
It is a key intermediate used in the making of a number of polymers and resins for adhesives, coatings, paints, films, textiles and other end-products.
The largest derivative is polyvinyl acetate (PVA) which is mainly used in adhesives as it has good adhesion properties to a number of substrates including paper, wood, plastic films and metals. Other uses for PVA include paper coatings, paints and industrial coatings.
The second largest consumer of VAM is polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) which is manufactured from PVA.
VAM is consumed in the manufacture of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) and vinyl acetate ethylene (VAE).
A fast growing use of VAM is the manufacture of ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) which is used as a barrier resin in food packaging, plastic bottles and gasoline tanks, and in engineering polymers.
Other VAM derivatives include vinyl chloride-vinyl acetate copolymers which have major applications in coatings, paints and adhesives.
VAM is usually produced by the catalysed, vapour phase reaction of acetic acid with ethylene and oxygen in a fixed bed tubular reactor using a supported noble metal catalyst. The VAM is recovered by condensation and scrubbing and purified by distillation.