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.
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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
Imports will play a greater role in the European vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) market following the closure of half the region’s production capacity in the fourth quarter of 2013. On 4 October, INEOS Enterprises announced it would close its 300,000 tonne/year plant in Hull, UK, citing low-cost imports. On 10 December, Celanese confirmed it would close its 200,000 tonne/year facility in Tarragona, Spain. Most buyers have shown little concern at the lost capacity, saying they do not expect the increased dependence on imports to reduce availability.
The US acetyls chain should see more price increases and significant maintenance activity in the first and second quarters of 2014. The focus has already turned to VAM, with recent increases in spot prices thought to be just a glimpse of bigger moves that sources see on the horizon for that market in early 2014.
The increases began in early January as US VAM fourth-quarter contracts and free on board (FOB) export prices rose slightly, moved partly by rising feedstocks but mostly by plant closures in Europe late last year that have made the Continent more dependent on US imports.
VAM watchers also speculate about possible domestic tightness in the US market stemming from DuPont’s recent deal to sell its glass and vinyls business to Japan-based Kuraray.
Spot prices of VAM in Asia are likewise poised for a recovery in the first half of 2014, because of an ease in oversupply conditions amid reduced global VAM production and growing demand from the downstream ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) sector.
Asia’s VAM spot prices were largely trading sideways for the most part of 2013 as supply outstripped demand following the start-up of a new VAM plant in southeast Asia.
Updated to mid-Jan 2014
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Vinyl Acetate Monomer Methodology
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.