The ICIS global vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) report is published weekly and covers Asia, Europe and the US. All three regions have price assessments for the spot markets within the report and there is valuable news and analysis within the commentary.
This market intelligence incluces overviews, production news, downstream and upstream movements, economic news, trade statistics and the ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) trends. Whether you are a buyer or seller, this comprehensive business tool will help you to make informed choices.
Updated to Q1 2020
Despite several turnarounds in Q1, regional supply increased as the coronavirus outbreak first caused demand from China to taper off in early February. Supply continued to lengthen in March after contractual shipments bound for India had to be diverted to other regions in Asia, after the south Asian country declared a national lockdown on 25 March.
Demand for VCM in China was initially strong in January amid tight supply and tight domestic market conditions for downstream PVC. However, the rapidly worsening coronavirus situation in February soon saw demand plummet in the country. India’s national lockdown on 25 March also saw many PVC producers shutting down, leading to the postponement of contractual shipments bound for the South Asian country.
Supply was stable and not significantly tightened in Q1. Dow’s plant at Stade, Germany suffered production issues lasting from December to January, but this did not significantly influence the direction of the market because of low liquidity and the majority of capacity being integrated into downstream production. Demand fell in the second half of March as a consequence of reduced activity in the global PVC market, but the full impact is not expected to become evident until Q2.
There was a small resurgence of downstream demand in January as market players restocked following the December holiday period. However, demand was relatively stable in February and declined in the second half of March as a result of the global decrease in downstream PVC demand. The impact on the VCM spot market was limited because of low liquidity, with most capacity being integrated into downstream production systems.
Supply of US vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) declined during the first quarter as Formosa Plastics undertook a planned maintenance turnaround at its Point Comfort complex and Westlake Chemical had an unspecified logistics problem for VCM delivery within its system. The Formosa turnaround lasted 60 days in into the second quarter.
Demand for US VCM held steady through the first quarter as demand for the polymer increased on higher construction activity during January and February. The demand for derivative polyvinyl chloride (PVC) began to slow at the end of the quarter as coronavirus precautions began to constrain construction activity and other downstream demand sectors.
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VCM production takes place in an integrated balanced process, comprising three units, direct chlorination, oxychlorination and ethylene dichloride (EDC) cracking.
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.
Asian petrochemical shares were mostly higher on Friday on growing hopes of a global economic recovery as massive additional stimulus packages were introduced. Crude prices were mixed amid...Read
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Chinese coal-based capacities for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and monoethylene glycol (MEG) are losing competitiveness relative to ethylene-based alternatives in a lower priced ethylene...Read
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Petrochemical markets in Asia are coming back to life after about two months of general weakness as pandemic-induced lockdowns in most countries in the region are being lifted,...Read
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Like many others, if you are looking for ways to unveil answers to key industry questions then come and join us at the 24th World Chlor-alkali Conference organised by ICIS and Tecnon Orbichem. This 1.5 day event has been a home for key industry players in the value chain, having welcomed hundreds of delegates each year. Take a first look at the key offerings in 2020.