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The Vinyl Chloride Production in North America Is Anticipated to Reach 10.2 Million Tons in 2023

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The North American vinyl chloride market was equal to 7.632 million tons in 2013. The largest country market within the region was the United States, which in 2013 accounted for a share of 90% of the total in volume terms. Until 2023, the North American market is forecast to reach around 9.4 million tons, thus growing at a CAGR of about 2.4% per annum in the period 2018-2023. This is a slight increase, compared to the growth at a CAGR of around 1.5% per year, registered in 2013-2017.

The North American production of vinyl chloride is likely to grow to around 10.2 million tons in the medium term. Upward dynamics of the overall installed production capacities in the region are also expected. However, their annual average utilization rates are projected to stay flat. In addition, the market is forecast to remain relatively balanced in terms of supply and demand, also showing moderately upwards dynamics in the medium term.

Vinyl chloride is highly dependent on the development of end-use markets such as construction and piping industries, since as the most commonly used thermoplastic, PVC is being utilized in the production of a variety of products, such as pipes and fittings, wires and cables, sheets, blow molded bottles, windows, doors, roofing, automotive parts. One of the leading trends on the market is connected with the continuous improvements of the manufacturing technology, prompted by the emerging safety and environmental requirements. Commercial production of vinyl chloride was initially based on the catalytic hydrochlorination of acetylene. However, this route requires high energy costs and is now obsolete everywhere but in China where ample coal supplies have kept the cheap alternative in business. Presently, more than 90% of the global vinyl chloride production outside of China is based on ethylene. What is more, most of the modern vinyl chloride plants use integrated processes, which combine endothermic and exothermic reactions, resulting in an almost energy balanced operation.

Regionally, the Chinese government started a series of environmental inspections before the start of the G20 conference held in Hangzhou, China in early September 2016. As a result, numerous Chinese vinyl facilities have lowered their operating rates, or even shut down. Actually, after the conference, the Chinese government continued with the environmental inspections, which caused relatively low domestic PVC production resulting in tight supply and soaring prices. In addition, India’s economy has been growing and the vinyl chloride demand also, prompted by the significant infrastructure demand and housing projects. As for North American market, demand growth in the US has been steady at about 3% as the construction activity continues to recover from the 2008-2009 financial crisis. Furthermore, due to the cheap ethane feedstock from shale gas, there has been a gradual expansion of the US vinyl chloride and PVC production and export over the past few years.

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