20 October 2004 16:19 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (CNI)--Global chemical industry activity moderated in September amid high energy costs, some cooling of the Chinese economic engine and multiple hurricane blasts in ?xml:namespace>
Kevin Swift, senior director and chief economist at the American Chemistry Council (ACC), reported today on the ACC’s global index of the chemicals industry, showing a “stable” September following gains of 0.4% in August and 0.2% in July.
The ACC global index for September stands at 128.6% of the 1997 base-line comparison year, and the global chemicals industry shows a 5.5% improvement last month compared with September 2003.
“The improvement in activity during August was broad-based,” Swift reported, “with all regions except Asia-Pacific participating. However, activity improved during September for Western Europe, Africa & the
Swift said that in North America the continuing recovery of manufacturing pulled all three of the continent’s nations along with it in July and August, but in August and September four major hurricanes struck the US and “reduced 0.3 percentage points off from overall industrial production growth as oil and gas output, oil refining, and chemicals all suffered.”
“Indeed,” Swift noted, “full resumption of oil and gas operations in the
Swift said that despite a modest economic recovery in Europe and high oil prices, “a tentative chemical industry recovery does appear to be taking hold in
For Central & Eastern Europe, Swift said, “the latest data suggest that September was a negative month, with output falling after a year of relatively strong gains. This was particularly the case in
“In Africa & the Middle East, chemical industry output is now 7.4% above last year's level and has accelerated recently,” Swift reports. “New capacity is coming on-stream and petrochemical and derivative production has been aided by strong economic growth in East Asia, especially
In the Asia-Pacific region, production appears to have improved during September, Swift said. “Regional activity had decreased in both July and August, largely the result of the Chinese government’s efforts to cool the economy. This affected nations in the region exporting to
In conclusion, Swift said: “The global business of chemistry appears to have reached a new stage of the chemicals cycle, one consistent with an evolution of the cycle from that of recovery to one of expansion. The industry continues to move ahead at a pace where occasional monthly declines may be interspersed within more modest monthly gains. The major risk to the global economy and the business of chemistry at this point of the chemistry cycle is high oil prices. In
The member companies of Arlington, Virginia-based ACC account for some 90% of US basic industrial chemicals productive capacity.
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