Global spot VCM prices firm on plant issues in Japan, Mexico

Spot VCM prices firmed in Europe, Asia and USA over the past week as some production issues in Japan and Mexico led to greater VCM demand from Asian and Mexican buyers, spurring demand for spot VCM, as per ChemOrbis. The largest increases were witnessed in Asia, which has seen the greatest supply disruptions recently. In Asia, spot VCM prices jumped higher over the past week as news surfaced that the situation at Tosoh’s VCM complex was worse than players had originally believed. Tosoh was forced to shut its No 2 and No 3 VCM lines, which have a combined capacity of around 950,000 tpa, following an explosion at the plant earlier this month. While the No 3 unit, which has a capacity of 400,000 tpa, could restart by the end of November, market sources commented that the company’s 550,000 tpa No 2 unit had been more severely damaged and might be offline for as much as six months before resuming production, as per ChemOrbis. Consequently, a deal concluded for late November/early December shipment settled with a larger increase from the November done deal levels. “VCM pricing for December is uncertain now as Tosoh is one of the region’s largest suppliers and the effect of their absence on the market has not been accurately gauged yet,” commented a trader. Players in Southeast Asia’s PVC market had reported seeing higher PVC prices last week based partially on the news of Tosoh’s shutdown. Most of the region’s PVC producers are non-integrated and several source much of their material from Tosoh. The gap in Asian VCM supplies also pushed up spot prices in Europe. Although spot trade within Europe was described as limited over the past week given the unsettled economic conditions in the region, spot VCM prices firmed up week over week as sellers raised their prices in response to an increasing number of inquiries from Asian VCM buyers. European traders commented that they expect prices to remain mostly stable for the remainder of the year in spite of sluggish regional demand. In the US, spot VCM prices also recorded notional increases week over week on firmer overseas demand. US sellers were eyeing greater export sales to Mexico after Pemex delayed the restart of its 273,000 tpa VCM plant in Pajaritos, Veracruz. Mexico is a net importer of VCM as the country’s domestic VCM production is insufficient to meet the demand of the country’s PVC industry and PVC producers may need to increases their imports from the US in response to the delay in the restart of the Pemex facility. Players report that some export deals for large amounts of US VCM have already been concluded with Mexican buyers for November shipment.
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