MOSCOW (MRC) -- This week India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown from Wednesday for 21 days in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the world's second-most populous country, which has 1.3 billion people. The lockdown applies to ports, which will slow imports of all kinds of goods, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC), to a country that was dependent on PVC imports to meet demand before the pandemic gripped the globe, reported S&P Global.
Other countries and regions have similar lockdowns in place with exceptions for critical infrastructure, which includes chemical plants and ports. Those include Italy, which is among the global epicenters of the disease, and Spain. Germany was expected to issue similar stay-at-home orders as well, sources said.
In the US, several states, including hard-hit California and New York, have issued similar orders. Louisiana, home to major oil, natural gas and chemicals infrastructure, has an order in place, while Texas does not, although on Tuesday Houston and Harris County issued their own stay-at-home orders with similar critical infrastructure exemptions.
While construction is among those exemptions, US sources said coronavirus uncertainty was siphoning export demand and could do the same for domestic demand ahead of the peak summer season.
"Nobody wants to buy anything additional, especially for early April shipments," a market source said. "Some people are being cautious and canceling part of their orders, but not so much, both domestic and export."
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, contrary to seasonal factors, Russian producers of unmixed PVC have maintained a high level of capacity utilisation. Russia's overal PVC output totalled 91,700 tonnes in January 2020, up by 4% year on year. January production of unmixed PVC was 91,700 tonnes versus 87,760 tonnes in January 2019 and 81,400 tonnes in December 2019. Thus, despite relatively weak demand for resin from the domestic market, the average capacity utilisation exceeded 95% last month. Russia's overall PVC production reached 975,000 tonnes in 2019, compared to 958,600 tonnes a year earlier.