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
No major polyvinyl chloride (PVC) turnarounds and healthy operating rates in Asia, along with competitively-priced deep-sea PVC from US, meant that there was healthy spot availability. In addition, slowed demand from the major market of India due to the general elections, as well as China’s sluggish economy caused by the US-China trade war caused some regional surplus availability.
China’s GDP target for 2019 has been set at 6.0-6.5%, down from a 28-year low of 6.6% in 2018. Downstream customers have subsequently taken a more conservative approach, resulting in muted demand after the Lunar New Year holidays. In southeast Asia, demand remained flat from the downstream construction industries in Vietnam and Thailand.
European polyvinyl chloride (PVC) supply was for the most part stable in Q1 2019, without major disruptions or price spikes. On the other hand, export markets tightened from February onwards as a consequence of a production issue at INOVYN’s plant in Martorell, Spain. In addition, US K65 grade export prices rose in mid-quarter in line with an increase in the Asian markets, which reduced its competitiveness as imports into Europe. European contract prices were nevertheless in line with feedstock costs for the quarter.
European PVC demand was broadly stable compared to the previous quarter. Seasonal consumption rose slightly as a result of seasonally stronger activity in March. This was to an extent counterbalanced by weaker economic performance in Europe, which reduced chemical product demand in general. European prices were stable against feedstocks except in export markets where they rose because of lower availability in Turkey.
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 polyvinyl chloride (PVC) supply during the first quarter increased as global demand slacked and US exports slowed. US producers export one-third of production.
US domestic demand slowed on seasonal factors during the first quarter as severe winter weather slowed construction activity and delayed transactions. Export markets showed softer demand.
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
Returning to Singapore this June, the 23rd World Chlor-alkali Conference in partnership with Tecnon OrbiChem will feature industry-focused presentations including the future direction of caustic soda market, global chlor-alkali market overview, a producer’s perspective on Alumina, PVC outlook and much more. Expand your market reach by joining the growing list of regular attendees and new companies participating at this year’s edition.