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 Q1 2019
Increased safety concerns are likely to continue affecting production rates in China, affecting supply. On the other hand, other producers in northeast Asia are generally able to meet the expected recovery in demand for PVC in the first quarter of 2019.
More demand is expected from the major import destination of India in the early part of the year, which is traditionally the peak season for agricultural PVC pipe laying. Demand in other Asian regions is also generally expected to improve after the Lunar New Year, which takes place in early February. Tighter supply from China may also see buyers in southeast Asia sourcing for alternatives from other suppliers in the region.
European polyvinyl chloride (PVC) availability is expected to increase somewhat in Q1 with the production situation and availability at KEM ONE and Vestolit improving in late December. The outlook for the export market remains subdued so there is not likely to be a large trade flow to Turkey and other major outlets for Europe.
European PVC demand is expected to rise somewhat in the first quarter in line with typical seasonal trends of re-stocking after Q4. This trend will be tempered by relatively high demand in December 2018, which may result in lower re-stocking than normal. UK demand is also expected to remain healthy with buyers aiming to build stocks before Britain leaves the EU.
PVC supply in Latin America in the first quarter of 2019 is expected to remain stable and in balance with moderate demand, as long as no critical political or economic disruptions emerge. General trade and exports from the US into Latin America should continue at customary levels. PVC availability in Venezuela is the exception, as domestic production is likely to remain shut.
PVC demand in Latin America in the first quarter of 2019 is expected to remain soft on seasonality, particularly in South America until the Carnival holidays in March. Business will also be moderate in Mexico during the winter, when construction activity slows in the Northern Hemisphere. Demand in Venezuela will be negligible amid the current economic disruption.
In Q1 2019, supply is expected to increase as more Asian producers look to export to India and the Middle East in anticipation of better demand in the coming weeks. Imports from the US is also expected to see an increase as the region comes out of the holiday season.
Demand is expected to improve in Q1 2019 in India as January and February are traditionally good months for PVC. However, this will largely remain dependent on prices and demand for finished goods. In the Middle East, demand is expected to remain weak amid weak activity in the construction sector.
US producers are likely to kick up production rates during the first quarter to meet restocking activity among compounders, processors and other downstream users ahead of the 2019 construction season. While there are some plant outages planned for the quarter, those will most likely occur after February and March export allocations are set and a two-month lull comes before May construction season launch.
Demand will increase during the first quarter as makers of products made from PVC restock resin to make their own finished products ahead of the April-May construction season start.
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.
Vinyl chloride monomer
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