Weaker dollar, urban migration may boost US polyurethanes - exec

11 October 2010 17:27  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A weaker dollar should help the US polyurethanes industry to take advantage of urbanisation opportunities over the near term, an executive with Bayer MaterialScience said on Monday.

The global trend toward urban living could run directly counter to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sustainability, said Jerry MacCleary, a senior vice president with Bayer and the steering committee chairman for the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI).

That, in turn, could boost the need for energy-efficient building products from the polyurethanes sector, he said.

“Sustainable, energy-efficient technologies are the wave of the future,” MacCleary said in a presentation at the CPI’s Polyurethanes Technical Conference in Houston.

“And a weaker dollar is only going to amplify the urbanisation opportunities, at least over the near term,” he added.

The dollar fell on Monday toward an eight-month low versus the euro, with the conversion rate per dollar dropping to 0.71.

MacCleary noted that over the next decade, more than 71m people would likely migrate to cities each year, creating urban centers the size of greater Houston every month, particularly in rapidly developing countries like China and India.

As a result, opportunities will exist for polyurethane producers to step in with energy-efficient products for urban dwellings, MacCleary added.

“The successful urbanisation of the developing world will take all the technology breakthroughs we can have,” he said.

In addition, opportunities exist within the US amid a more stringent regulatory climate, he noted.

For example, the city of Portland, Oregon, has less than half the carbon footprint of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, even with nearly identical populations, McCleary said, adding that such a discrepancy could be addressed in coming years.

“Building insulation is the most obvious answer,” he said.

The CPI conference lasts through Wednesday.

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By: Ben DuBose
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