There were a few bright spots for the acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer markets during 2020, but the sector also suffered its share of hard times throughout the year. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous strains on the global economy, and businesses have adapted to changing conditions to the best of their abilities. The situation remains serious in early 2021 with many countries returning to strict lockdown measures due to surging numbers of COVID-19 cases in late 2020 and early 2021. There is an overriding feeling of hope, however, as multiple vaccines are being rolled out globally – but patience and flexibility are still needed.
Tecnon OrbiChem’s most recent forecast of supply and demand for the Acetyls industry, which was completed in late 2020, clearly shows the impact of the pandemic on both production and consumption in the sector. Global acetic acid demand is forecast at around 13.8 million tons in 2020, a decrease of 5.6% compared to 2019 totals. During the second quarter of 2020, at the lowest ebb of the markets, major acetyls companies reported sales volumes were down 15%-20% year-on-year. In contrast, acetyls producers are expecting to report much improved results and volumes once Q4 financial results are reported, but better results at the end of the year are not expected to make up for the previous losses. For the VAM market, demand for 2020 is forecast at around 5.6 million tons, down more than 6.5% compared to the previous year.
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