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Cover Story

July 10, 2006
Volume 84, Number 28
p. 35

Facts & Figures Of The Chemical Industry

The story of the turnaround in the chemical industry may have begun in 2004, but it didn't end there. Many of the elements in that story continued into 2005. Higher pricing and cost cutting to offset rising raw material and energy costs, increased production, and growing world trade are all continuing chapters.

As in 2004, probably the most important factor in advancing chemical fortunes last year was the industry's ability to raise prices enough to offset higher costs. Cost/price squeezes that were onerous in the first three years of the decade seem to have disappeared, giving chemical companies higher sales, earnings, and profitability. Many firms directed their improved earnings at increased spending on R&D and new plants and equipment.

Employment declined at many European companies but picked up at Japanese and U.S. firms. Interestingly, within U.S. borders, total chemical employment declined, but worldwide employment for companies with U.S. headquarters increased.

Production in many countries increased last year, although sometimes at a lower rate than in 2004. But in the U.S., overall chemical production fell slightly. This decline is one of the more interesting, if not tragic, episodes for the year. It did not come from lack of demand but rather from weather. The plant outages in the latter part of 2005 caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita knocked the stuffing out of chemical production, especially for basic chemicals.

The collection of industry data from the major chemical-producing countries and regions has been accomplished by Assistant Managing Editor Michael McCoy, Senior Correspondent Marc Reisch, and Associate Editor Alexander H. Tullo (all three in C&EN's Northeast News Bureau); Senior Correspondent Patricia L. Short (London); and Asia-Pacific Bureau Head Jean-Fran??ois Tremblay (Hong Kong). The work was coordinated by Senior Correspondent William J. Storck (Northeast News Bureau).

COVER STORY - FACTS & FIGURES

FINANCES: ONCE AGAIN, PRICES SPUR GAINS
Cost cutting also helped chemical companies overcome increases in raw material costs
(760 KB)

EMPLOYMENT: STILL FALLING IN MOST REGIONS
The chemical industry continues to shed employees in its cost-cutting efforts
(544 KB)

PRODUCTION: GROWTH IS THE NORM
Output of chemicals increased across most products and in most countries
(644 KB)

TRADE: GROWTH WAS COMMON EVERYWHERE
The value of chemical exports and imports increased, but U.S. trade deficit ballooned
(508 KB)

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Tables are also available in CSV (Comma Separated Values) file format. These tables can be downloaded and viewed in spreadsheet software such as Excel.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2010 American Chemical Society

Facts & Figures

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