WPC 2021: Global PVC market set for recovery

17:49 PM | March 11, 2021 | Vincent Valk

Growth is set to resume in the coming years in market for polyvinyl chloride (PVC), albeit with growth rates varying by country, according to a panel discussion at the IHS Markit World Petrochemical Conference (WPC) held earlier today. Global demand growth is also expected to lead to higher operating rates.

Despite disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, the market for PVC “has proven to be very resilient,” says Ana Lopez, director/chlor-alkali and vinyls at IHS Markit. Relatively strong markets for construction and home remodeling have underpinned that resilience, Lopez adds. “COVID-19 has been a catalyst for PVC demand growth in many countries,” she says.

Growth is expected to continue after the pandemic subsides. The world’s major regions are all expected to see growth in PVC demand through to 2025, according to IHS Markit.

The demand rebound is expected to lead to high-operating rates and a generally tight-supply demand environment. Global PVC operating rates declined substantially in 2020, but are forecast to exceed 2019 levels by 2023 and will continue to rise from there. “PVC demand has rebounded strongly,” notes Ramkumar Shankar, managing director at Chemplast Sanmar Limited (Chennai, India). The Indian subcontinent, which will see strong growth, has a particularly large capacity shortage, Shankar adds.

Operating rates are also expected to rise for upstream chlor-alkali facilities. Demand for caustic soda is expected to rise in addition to demand for chlorine and vinyls. “As global demand gets back on track beyond the pandemic…we expect global operating rates to continue to rise,” says Nick Kovacs, executive director/global chlor-alkali at IHS Markit.