InterviewUS chem distributors seek additional signs of recovery

04 November 2009 21:41  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS news)--The worst of the recession is over for North America’s chemical distributors, and now companies are waiting for signals of recovery, the head of the US-based National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) said on Wednesday.

“There is cautious optimism in the industry,” said NACD president Chris Jahn.

Sales over the past two quarters have been better for chemical distributors than the previous several quarters, he said.

However, “everyone is waiting for more signs,” he added.

Jahn said that segments serving essential markets such as food, pharmaceuticals or water treatment never dropped as far as the majority of the industry.

“You will know the economic recovery is real when segments like paints and coatings or electronics pick up,” Jahn said. “When folks start making more stuff, our guys will start selling more chemicals.”

The 2008 spike in commodity chemical pricing as well as accompanying reductions in sales volumes essentially prepared the industry for the recession, he said.

As a result, NACD members were largely able to weather the storm, Jahn said

“They do a good job running lean,” he said of member companies. “They cut costs, and paid a lot of attention to maintaining margins.”

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By: Ivan Lerner
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