U.S. Chemicals: The Luster Returns
Production should grow moderately in 2015 and for the next several years.
After a promising start, the global economy faltered in 2014 because of heightened geopolitical uncertainty, recessions in Brazil, Japan and many European nations, as well as slowdowns in China, some countries in the European Union and elsewhere. So, the manufacturing sector, which represents the primary customer base for chemicals, entered a soft period in 2014, with particular weakness in Europe and East Asia. However, the global industrial cycle is beginning to turn upwards, led by the United States, the United Kingdom and other nations. Moreover, both supportive monetary policy around the world and virtually non-existent inflationary pressures bolster the trend.
In the United States, the economy is growing but below its potential as high taxes, debt and regulatory burdens still take a toll on both business and consumer confidence. As a result, businesses have been cautious and will slow capital spending in 2015. Furthermore, overseas weakness and a higher dollar dampen U.S. exports. With household deleveraging over, further improvements in the employment situation, lower oil prices fostering discretionary income and asset prices moving higher are prompting consumers to start to spend again. To read more, visit Chemical Processing for more details.