2012: Still a Growth Story
11:29 AM MST | January 10, 2012 | By ROB WESTERVELT
Global chemical demand will continue to grow in 2012 even as solvency concerns in Europe, tightening credit and slower growth in China, and high unemployment in the U.S. weigh on confidence.
ACC is forecasting a 3.6% gain in global chemical output in 2012, on par with the 3.5% gain in 2011 (p. 17). Chemical demand in emerging markets is forecast to grow 6.2% in 2012, after an increase of 5.4% in 2011, ACC says. Chemical output in developed nations will average a mere 2% in 2011-2012, according to ACC estimates.
As Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris noted in October, the “new reality is that the world is operating as a two-speed global economy with the developing world strong, and the developed regions showing slow to no growth.”
High-growth economies, led by China, will again provide momentum in 2012, producers say. “We retain a reasonably positive view on 2012, underpinned by growth in China and Asia,” says Stephen Pryor, president of ExxonMobil Chemical. “Development and growth of the middle class in China creates demand for our products. The foundation for growth is there.”
The Chinese economy will grow 7.8% in 2012, compared with 9.2% in 2011, says Alistair Thornton, China analyst/global economics group at IHS Global Insight (Beijing). The Chinese government predicts higher growth of 8.9% for China’s economy in 2012.
The global outlook for chemicals again hinges on healthy economic growth in China during 2012 with Europe, Japan, and the U.S in slow to no growth mode. Demand growth near 10% should power all of industry higher in 2012.
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