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Updated to Q1 2017
The Asian vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) market saw tight supply and healthy demand in the first quarter.
VCM prices and demand are closely linked with the downstream polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market. PVC demand was strong in the region, especially with demand from India picking up after the demonetisation policy which weighed heavily on Indian demand in the last two months of 2016. PVC prices increased in the region during the first quarter, with VCM prices moved up in tandem.
Spot availability of VCM was tight as many integrated vinyl producers retained material for captive uses. Supply in southeast Asia was tight as one of the major producers in Indonesia conducted plant turnaround in February.
Updated to Q2 2017
European vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) spot prices trended upwards in Q2 due to higher upstream and downstream prices.
Downstream polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and upstream ethylene prices have both risen significantly in Q2 2017, with VCM spot prices also rising to reflect these developments.
However, although there were some additional VCM purchases agreed late in the quarter, sources saw very few spot deals taking place. The European VCM market is structurally quiet because the majority of production is integrated into PVC plants, meaning that spot sales are rare except in the case of production issues.
Downstream PVC demand has been strong in Europe in Q2 due to the strong performance of the construction industry, particularly in Germany, but this did not lead to many additional spot deals.
Updated to Q1 2017
US vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) remained a captive precursor to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) during the first quarter, with prices moving higher in tandem with those of the derivative resin.
VCM started January at about $670/tonne and rose about $85/tonne during the quarter, according to the ICIS assessment.
The majority of US merchant sales are through contract, with most material exported from the US sold to a producer of PVC with manufacturing operations in Mexico and South America.
In 2016, US VCM exports were flat compared to 2015. An explosion at a VCM plant in Mexico in April expanded US shipments to the country, but the material replaced regular shipments to Australia that ended in early 2016 when a PVC maker there stopped production.
As a result, US VCM exports to Mexico grew to 545,000 tonnes, a 14% increase. Exports to Colombia grew 8% to 374,000 tonnes and those to Canada rose 8% to more than 200,000 tonnes, according to the US International Trade Commission.
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