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Comment Business & Economics

ACC year-end report anticipates rises in U.S. chemical output

By Scott Jenkins |

The American Chemistry Council (ACC; Washington, D.C.; www.americanchemistry.com) today released its 2018 Year-End Situation and Outlook.

Highlights of the Outlook include the following:

  • Against the backdrop of “decoupling” global growth, ending a rare period of synchronized expansion around the world, American chemicals output improved during 2018. The world’s major economies have slowed, while in the United States, economic growth has remained dynamic and growth in manufacturing has nearly doubled.
  • Industrial output is on a roll in 2018, and expected to rise 3.7%, about double the 2017 pace after back-to-back years of declines due to weak export markets, a high dollar, and fallout from the collapse in oil prices. Industrial output is expected to moderate slightly in 2019 and 2020, with growth of 2.7% and 2.2%, respectively.
  • Industrial output grew strongly in 2018, with gains across a diverse set of chemistry-consuming industries. As a result, output of chemicals (excluding pharmaceuticals) rose by 3.1% during 2018. The U.S. and global economic outlook remains resilient through 2019 before downshifting to a more moderate growth path after 2020.
  • U.S. chemistry output is expected to rise 3.1% in 2018 and 3.6% in 2019.
    Over the next five years, the most dynamic growth will occur in the Gulf Coast region, followed by the Ohio Valley region. American chemistry revenues are expected to surpass $700 billion by 2023.
  • Chemical industry capital spending in the U.S. surged 82% in the subsequent eight years, reaching $37.0 billion in 2018.
  • U.S. chemical industry capital spending increased by 7.9% this year but will average 4.7% in 2019 and 3.4% in 2020 as many early projects reach completion. By 2023, U.S. capital spending by the chemical industry will reach $43 billion—nearly over two times the level of spending at the start of this prolonged cycle in 2010.
  • The U.S. chemical industry will post a $39 billion trade surplus in chemicals this year as exports (on a dollar basis) rise 10.0% to $143 billion and imports rise 7.8% to $105 billion.
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