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US economic recovery likely to continue

July 15/2011

(ICIS) -- US economic activity is likely to recover from the current soft patch in the second half of 2011, driving healthy chemical demand, the chief economist of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said on Thursday. We see a recovery in most end-use sectors, with particular strength is capital goods, which is driving basic chemicals, said ACC chief economist Kevin Swift during a conference call on its mid-year outlook.

He said he expects US bulk petrochemicals and organics volume output to grow 5.6%, plastics resins at 4.7% and synthetic rubber at 5.7% in 2011. Overall chemical output, excluding pharmaceuticals, is expected to rise by 4.8% in 2011 and another 3.1% in 2012.

He compared the economic downturn of 2008-2009 to a fall into a 20-foot (6-metre) ravine. Weve probably gone up 12-14 feet on the other side of the ravine, but its been muddy and slippery, he added.

While the softening of the US manufacturing recovery in the second quarter will affect chemical demand, inventories are well balanced and exports continue to be strong, he said.
US exports of thermoplastics have doubled since 3-4 years ago to 20% of output. And we see the potential of this growing much higher as the US has emerged as one of the worlds low-cost producers because of shale gas, said Swift.

For the global chemical sector, the economist said he expects output to grow by 4.8% in 2011 and 5.3% in 2012.

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