IHS Chemical Week


U.S. Attitudes Spell Concern

2:26 PM MST | January 23, 2009 | By JOHN PEARSON

The fundamental way out of the current market doldrums is a regaining of confidence among consumers, especially the big spenders of North America. Even if the banks can be reinvigorated with government cash and start lending again, there is no guarantee that shell-shocked U.S. consumers will go out and spend. Thrift is once more seemingly becoming a virtue, even in the USA.

A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that 74% of those interviewed believed that the recession (which we now know started over a year ago) will last for at least another year. Even more worrying was the percentage that thought the recession would last between one and three years – a stunning 57%.

OK, you get similar percentages if you ask Americans if they have ever been abducted by aliens, but this is still a disconcerting picture. If Americans are worried about the value of their homes, and if recession equates in their minds to anticipation of asset deflation, thrift will become even more fashionable, and the world petrochemical industry will find it difficult to get up any momentum this side of 2010.

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