ACC sees “Strong Fundamentals for US Chemicals”

The “renaissance” of the US chemical industry is just beginning, and the fundamentals for growth in 2016 are strong, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) says in its report, Year-End 2015 Chemical Industry Situation and Outlook.

In the annual publication, the association representing US-based chemical producers said the US chemicals economy grew by 6% in 2015. Key domestic end-use markets expanded, consumer spending accelerated, the job market began to firm, and households enjoyed extra savings from lower energy costs, all of which it said helped compensate for global headwinds that included a strong appreciation of the dollar and a weakness in several important markets.

For 2016, ACC forecasts a 2.9% increase in domestic chemical production, followed by a 4.4% expansion in 2017. During the second half of the decade, it expects the industry’s output to expand by more than 4% on the annual average, outpacing growth in the overall US economy.

Lead author of the report, Kevin Swift, said the momentum will continue as new capacity comes online in the next several years. As of mid-December, he said more than 261 new chemical production projects had been announced since 2010, with a total value of more than $158 billion. About a third are already complete or under construction.

“The United States is still the place for chemical companies to invest," said Swift. In contrast to earlier reports, ACC did not mention shale gas as an asset to US chemical production. A number of new projects were announced during 2015, most of them by foreign chemical producers.

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