Our ICIS vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) reports are published weekly in Asia, Europe and the US and provide the reader with up-to-date, independent pricing information compiled by our locally-based reporters. Spot assessments are reported in all regions, while contracts only apply to Europe and the US.
The market intelligence of news and analysis provides the reader with the tools required to carry out informed business actions. Market commentary includes details of business taking place, regional overviews, upstream movements, production data and demand/supply patterns.
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
Updated to Q2 2016
The European VAM market outlook in the short term would be heavily influenced by the widely-anticipated suspension of the 5.5% import duty, as its effects are possibly more acute in 2016 than when the EU similarly lifted the tariff last year. The recent 200,000 tonnes allowed into the EU free of duty, coupled with the seasonal downstream lull, has brought on oversupply. Therefore, sellers may accept relatively low prices in the immediate future, with hopes of retrieving the 5.5% price cut and lost margins once supply stabilises from May, as demand improves in the spring and summer.
US VAM spot export prices have been pressured lower by the return of supplies from two plants that have restarted from turnarounds. However, Dow Chemical has recently announced price increases beginning in April. Sources have also said they expect the paints and coatings season to be stronger than last year.
In Asia, firm feedstocks ethylene and acetic acid values may continue to bolster prices in Q2. A major producer eyed a $50/tonne increase for May shipments in a bid to pass on cost pressures. Support for the price hike is expected to stem from lower exports from China amid reduced output and a spate of planned shutdowns since the latter half of March and into April.
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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.