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  Cover Story  
  January 10,  2005
Volume 83, Number 2
p. 15




At this time last year, C&EN said 2004 would be a year of expansion for the chemical industry in most parts of the world. It certainly was that and more. If C&EN erred in its forecasts, it was generally on the side of caution.

This year, we feel pretty safe in saying that 2005 will continue the economic expansion that really got under way in 2004. But there probably will be some moderation--at least in rates of growth.

In the U.S., once again demand for chemicals will increase, causing a rise in output and probably additional price escalation. Thus, sales for chemical producers should continue to grow, perhaps not at the rates seen in 2004, but still the growth should be good. The same can be said for earnings.

Canada, like the U.S., will continue to see strong demand and increasing profits with output up substantially, especially for products such as ethylene and polyethylene.

In Latin America, economic activity continues to rebound--to the point that chemical producers are beginning to invest in new plants, with some big projects on the books.

In Asia, chemical producers also are enjoying growth, even in Japan, which has been the financial laggard for the past few years. Double-digit earnings growth has once again become common in Japan, and barring any major problems, good earnings growth should continue.

Last year, we said Europe's chemical industry would continue to lag behind much of the rest of the world, and this year we haven't changed our forecast much. Europe is seeing its exports cut because of the weak dollar. However, executives there expect production growth this year--just not as much as they might hope for.

World Chemical Outlook was compiled by William J. Storck, senior correspondent, and Alexander H. Tullo, associate editor, in New Jersey; Patricia L. Short, senior correspondent, in London; and Jean-François Tremblay, Hong Kong bureau head.


World Chemical Outlook - Introduction

United States


Latin America




  Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2004


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