Vinyl chloride monomer Prices, markets & analysis
If you buy or sell Vinyl chloride 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 Chloride Monomer Overview Transcript
Vinyl chloride monomer, also known as VCM, is an intermediate in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production and is largely integrated, with only a small merchant market outside of contract agreements.
About 99% of VCM is used in the production of downstream PVC, which is the main driver of VCM prices.
Other drivers include movements in ethylene and chlorine costs as well as events in the wider chlor alkali chain, as producers need to balance the electro chemical unit in order to make the business profitable.
The economy is also a key driver for VCM consumption, as the PVC market is strongly linked with construction activity and GDP.
In the global VCM market, trading activity has depended on the outcome of PVC negotiations, which have been largely unsuccessful for producers, as poor conditions in the construction market continue to cap potential increases and producers’ efforts to pass higher ethylene costs.
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Vinyl chloride monomer: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2014
The global vinyl chloride monomer market is expected to see stable to softer pricing as ethylene supply returns to a more normal level and as the peak demand season for downstream polyvinyl chloride (PVC) subsides near the end of the quarter.
Europe typically sees a lull in demand during the July-August period. In the US market, it is more likely to recede a little later, likely in August.
Demand is Asia is likewise expected to lower as the monsoon season covers India and much of southeast Asia and reduces demand for PVC for construction purposes.
Anti-dumping duties for PVC in India are also likely to suppress some traditional trade flows in that region and create disruptions in regional supply/demand balances.
The return of a key VCM plant in the US state of Louisiana should also help to steady the supply-demand equation in North America. Most US VCM exports remain within the Western Hemisphere with some cargoes done to Australia.
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Vinyl Chloride Monomer Methodology
About Vinyl chloride monomer
Vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) is a colourless gas with a characteristic mild, sweet odour. A toxic and hazardous material, vinyl chloride has been classified as a group A, human carcinogen.
VCM is used almost exclusively in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) manufacture. PVC itself is highly dependent on the construction market, which reflects the ups and downs of the world economies.
With the exception of China, nearly all production is now based on ethylene, which is first reacted with chlorine to make ethylene dichloride (EDC). The EDC is then converted to VCM by thermal cracking. In China, the dominant process to make VCM is based on acetylene produced from calcium carbide which is manufactured from coal and limestone.