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Updated to Q3 2020
Supply in northeast Asia is largely expected to tighten in Q3 amid scheduled turnarounds. A southeast Asian producer’s unscheduled turnaround from H2 May to H1 July has also tightened supply in the region. Faced with squeezed margins due to a sluggish demand recovery for feedstock chlorine co-product caustic soda, integrated producers may also adjust their operating rates accordingly.
VCM demand largely tracks conditions for downstream PVC, where demand is expected to continue recovering as countries resume manufacturing activities after the lifting of lockdowns. Most of the demand in Asia is expected to be from China. The possibility of a second wave of the virus has not been ruled out and may dampen hopes of a sustained recovery.
European VCM supply is likely to rise in Q3 as downstream demand and utilisation rates increase. The majority of VCM is used in the production of PVC. As PVC demand is expected to increase following the lifting of coronavirus-related lockdowns, utilisation rates are likely to rise in Q3 which will increase VCM production.
European VCM demand is likely to increase in Q3 as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are reduced. Lockdowns were lifted across Europe in Q2 and early Q3 and as a result downstream PVC demand is likely to increase. However, this outlook is tempered by the holiday season in July and August which will reduce activity, and the possibility that the pandemic may see a resurgence in colder weather later in the year.
Supply of US VCM is on track to continue the recovery started in May, though it is expected to see ups and downs on coronavirus disruptions in some markets. Some export demand to Mexico is likely to see a dip on the coronavirus disruptions. Supply should build to meet the overall demand recovery through the quarter on peak construction season.
Demand for US VCM is expected to continue a steady recovery during the third quarter, peak demand season for construction activity and for derivative PVC. Construction activity is expected to return with a sense of urgency as contractors work to finish projects before a second wave of coronavirus infections prompts further lockdowns or labour shortages.
We offer the following regional Vinyl chloride monomer coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the “Asia, Europe & US” Vinyl chloride monomer marketplace.
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VCM production takes place in an integrated balanced process, comprising three units, direct chlorination, oxychlorination and ethylene dichloride (EDC) cracking.
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