In 2008, the PVC world market reached a volume of 34 million tons from demand of 24 million tons in 2000. However, the 5% annual rate of growth seen in the past will probably not continue. Nevertheless, Ceresana Research expects global PVC demand to increase by an average of 2% pa, despite the precarious financial crisis. The comprehensive study explains through individual regions and countries, why PVC demand is forecasted to total more than 40 million tons by the year 2016.
While Middle Eastern nations are implementing enormous expansions in production capacity for many other plastics, such as polypropylene and polyethylene (HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE), with PVC they are not able to profit as much from their abundance of raw materials. This is because PVC consists of only 43% of the petroleum/natural gas derivative ethylene. For the most part, PVC is made up of chlorine, which can be obtained in a multitude of regions from the extensive supply of salt. PVC is particularly interesting to other world regions for this very reason. This study from Ceresana Research analyzes demand divided by application area, as well as production, capacities, revenue, and flow of trade in 61 countries, from the years 2000 to 2016.
Majority of PVC manufacturers are located in China, whereby these often represent small, aged acetylene-based factories. Nevertheless, an increased number of modern production facilities with capacities of 400,000 tons or more are being constructed throughout the People's Republic. Correspondingly, the trade balance is also changing: China is constantly becoming less dependent upon imports, and by 2009 PVC export amounts are expected to surpass import totals. PVC manufacturers in India are profiting from rising domestic demand. In contrast, the United States is dealing with excess capacity: Production capacity decreases in the amount of 2 million tons are anticipated over the next several years, because otherwise no economical degree of efficiency will be reached.
Of the nine primary application areas, whose development is extensively analyzed in the market study over the short- and long-term, the majority of global PVC demand currently originates from building construction and civil engineering, that is to say demand for pipes (38%) and for window profiles (20%). Other important areas of application include for example, films and sheeting, cable insulation, flooring, and shoes, as well as medical products, such as intravenous drip lines. However, substantial differences exist between the various regions. Demand for windows is rising considerably in Russia, for example, while in Asia pipe production is playing a vital role for PVC.