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 Q3 2019
Supply for vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) in Asia tightened in September amid production disruptions on top of scheduled turnarounds.
A producer in Japan had to stop its production unexpectedly due to a typhoon, while another producer in Japan also had an unscheduled turnaround after a minor incident.
Various northeast Asian producers also had their seasonal turnarounds in September, leading to tightened spot supply.
With unexpected shutdowns in Japan amid planned turnarounds in northeast Asia, buyers were left to procure from a shrinking pool of suppliers.
Transportation restrictions of chlorine feedstock in China also led to production cuts in the country ahead of the week-long National Day holidays. Sentiments subsequently turned bullish on restocking activities despite the tight supply situation.
European vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) supply did not change significantly in the third quarter, although upstream chlorine production was lower. The market saw some planned and unplanned shutdowns but this did not significantly impact prices, with players not seeing a major change in availability during the quarter.
European VCM demand was stable or lower in the third quarter, with demand for downstream polyvinyl chloride (PVC) falling during the summer lull. Consumption was also lower in specialist applications such as the automotive sector, with the weak European economy impacting a number of sectors. Spot demand remained low for VCM with most capacity integrated into downstream production systems.
Supply of US vinyl chloride firmed slightly during the third quarter as the market entered peak demand season for derivative polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Most US VCM is produced and consumed internally by producers of PVC and production closely matches demand. Some material is exported through contractual agreements to PVC producers in other regions. Even rarer are spot export volumes.
VCM demand through the third quarter firmed and held steady during the peak demand season for derivative polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and for exported material that moves under contract to producers of PVC in other regions. Demand held steady during the third quarter as domestic demand for derivative PVC firmed seasonally, but at below the level of 2018.
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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.
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