Our comprehensive Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) reports covered by our locally-based experts, help to keep you abreast of the latest market developments and make vital business decisions. The weekly ICIS price reports are published in Asia, China, Middle East/south Asia, CIS, Europe, the US and Latin America. Price assessments vary depending on the region and include spot, import, export, domestic and contract prices.
Our independent and unbiased commentary includes an overview of weekly market activity, demand and supply trends, production issues, upstream movements, graphs and economic news.
Updated to Q3 2019
European polyvinyl chloride (PVC) supply was broadly speaking stable in the second quarter, with trends differing depending on the specific market and time period. A number of planned and unplanned shutdowns occurred in May and reduced domestic availability. In June, the global market tightened because of production issues in Brazil and European export availability fell as a consequence. Market trends were for the most part in line with feedstocks, suggesting that supply and demand was balanced for the quarter.
European PVC demand indications were lower in the second quarter as the economic outlook remained cloudy and some markets suffered from the aftereffects of specific impacts. In the UK, buyers built additional stocks before the original Brexit date in March 2019 and ran them down during the second quarter, reducing demand. Turkey also saw low consumption following a recession in the construction sector and political uncertainty. PVC demand is strongly tied to overall GDP and economic trends.
Updated to Q2 2019
For much of Q2, the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market remained adequately supplied in Asia as the continued trade dispute between China and the US slowed down many economies in the region. On the other hand, regional supply started to tighten in late Q2 amid northeast Asian producers’ turnarounds. A major chlor-vinyl producer’s outage in Brazil also led some Asian producers to allocate additional volumes to Latin America.
Signs of a slowing global economy amid the continued trade dispute between China and the US led to sluggish demand in Asia for much of the second quarter. Demand in southeast Asia started to pick up in early June after the Eid ul-Fitr holidays. This was in contrast to China’s demand, which remained limited.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) supply in Latin America during Q2 was adequate, but started to tighten due to Braskem’s issues at its Alagoas salt mine that left the company without brine for ethylene dichloride production to feed its PVC plant. Brazil imported PVC from the US and Argentina. Mexico and Colombia continued to compete in export markets shipping material to South America. Asian product was also offered in countries along the Pacific coast of South America.
PVC demand in Latin America in Q2 was modest in line with the approach of a seasonal lull in demand and unfavourable economies in most countries in the region. However, demand strengthened in mid-May, pushed up by a shortage of feedstock and PVC at the Braskem facility in Maceio, Brazil. Demand in Argentina was sluggish as the country is attempting to emerge from a recession that started in 2016.
Supply of PVC in Q2 2019 was mixed in India. A lack of demand for imports for most of the quarter resulted in higher supply. Supply was constrained later in the quarter given several turnarounds at main exporters’ facilities in northeast Asia. In the Middle East, supply was mostly long, as trade was weak amid the Ramadan fasting period and Eid festivities. A major domestic supplier was plagued by ample stocks due to lacklustre demand.
Demand for PVC in Q2 2019 was mixed in India. Early in the quarter, trade was slow as participants waited for the results of the general elections and antidumping duty (ADD) reviews to provide market clarity. Demand picked up in the later part of the quarter as buyers sought to replenish inventories ahead of the upcoming monsoon. Middle Eastern demand was weak for most of the quarter, amid a lack of funding in the construction sector.
US producers increased production rates during the second quarter, on expectations of the usual spring demand uplift ahead of the beginning of peak production season. But a long winter delayed construction activity and US domestic supplies grew. A demand lift in late May started to reverse the trend and to remove the excess material from warehouses.
The usual spring demand surge ahead of construction season was two months late this year as severe winter weather, flooding and other problems made building sites unworkable. Demand did increase, but at a much slower pace than expected, down 3.6% for the year through May. June likely pushed demand higher as seasonable weather allowed more activity throughout the US.
We offer the following regional Polyvinyl chloride analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Polyvinyl chloride marketplace.
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PVC is produced from the polymerisation of Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM). It is a versatile thermoplastic with a wide range of uses including pipes & fittings, profiles, cables, flooring, films & sheets
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) occurs as white, amorphous, odourless powder. It is soluble in nitrobenzene, cyclohexanone, and tetrahydrofuran but insoluble in vinyl chloride. It is resistant to dilute alkalis and acids but is attacked by concentrated nitric and chromic acids.
Two types of PVC homopolymer are produced: rigid resins which are inflexible and hard; and flexible resins which contain a large proportion of plasticiser to make them soft and can be stretched. Products made from rigid PVC include pipe and conduit and roofing tiles.
Flexible PVC finds outlets in wire and cable coating, flooring, coated fabrics and shower curtains. Other outlets for flexible PVC are film and sheet and flooring.
Polymerisation is normally performed at 40-70oC with the vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) in a liquid state under pressure in a batch reactor. Suspension polymerisation is the most common PVC process because the resins produced are the most versatile and suitable for a wide range of applications.
The resin produced from the polymerisation process is hard and brittle and requires conversion into a compound by the incorporation of additives such as plasticisers, modifiers, stabilisers and processing aids before conversion into finished products.
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