US Chemical Industry Growth to Remain Slow Through 2012

August American Chemistry Council data "indicates gradual economic growth, similar to what we saw in July, driven primarily by improving equity prices and positive trends in construction and light-vehicle-related chemical production. This uptick in growth follows three consecutive months of decline and is comparable to patterns observed in 2010 and 2011.”

U.S. chemical industry growth was up slightly in August but will remain slow through the rest of the year as export markets soften,  the American Chemistry Council reported Tuesday in its monthly Chemical Activity Barometer.

The association’s August index rose 0.4% from July to 89.4. The slight increase was partly due to the rebounding construction and light-vehicle markets.

Other key factors include growing chemical company equities offset by declining prices and flat production.

“The August CAB data indicates gradual economic growth, similar to what we saw in July, driven primarily by improving equity prices and positive trends in construction and light-vehicle-related chemical production,” said Kevin Swift, American Chemistry Council chief economist. “This uptick in growth follows three consecutive months of decline and is comparable to patterns observed in 2010 and 2011.”

The index rebounded to its May level and is nearly 1% higher than it was in August 2011, when it reached 88.5 Swift said.

U.S. chemical industry exports are expected to remain slow, the index data indicated. In addition, production of plastic resins for consumer and institutional applications remained weak in August.

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