While the U.S. economy grew at a lacklustre pace in Q1 owing to high taxation, regulatory measures and falling consumer confidence, the chemical industry has performed surprisingly well. The ACC (American Chemistry Council) released its mid-year 2015 Chemical Industry Situation & Outlook in early June and it confirms that long-term growth is on the cards. Driving the progress are significant improvements in emerging markets and customer industries. Allied with that is the focus on feedstock competitiveness.
The growth prospect for 2015 is expected to be around 2.5% and by 2016 the U.S. economic growth rate is expected to increase to 2.9%. The sectors that are likely to be a drain on the economy include short-term investment, exports and declining oil prices which will adversely impact on the energy sector. In stark contrast, the U.S. chemical industry has performed admirably. In terms of production volumes, U.S. chemistry volumes have increased by 3.2% this year alone. And the projection for chemical industry volume growth for 2016 is 3%.
Growth in the chemical industry is expected to continue as increased competitiveness induces greater capacity. Over the long-term, analysts are expecting the U.S. chemical industry’s growth rate to outstrip that of the economy. Domestic demand is powering the chemical industry market in the U.S. but foreign demand is weak and this is reflected in poor export sales. Midway through 2015 the U.S. chemical industry looks set for strong growth. As end-use markets continue to recover, the overall competitiveness of the industry will lead the U.S. chemical industry into the red over the following years.
The U.S. chemical industry is enjoying surging levels in the supply of natural gas liquids and the development of shale gas too. As a result, American production costs in the chemical industry have come down and made the U.S one of the most competitive global producers. The U.S. chemical industry is also expected to continue to add many high-paying employment prospects for candidates, well into the future. Additionally, when external markets show increased strength and growth prospects, trade surpluses in the U.S. chemical industry will replace trade deficits. According to the ACC, record surpluses will be posted by 2020.