US economic outlook improves on rising business confidence - ACC

25 February 2011 17:59  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US economic expectations for 2011 and 2012 increased in February amid rising confidence among business leaders and consumers, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said on Friday.

In its monthly economic forecasters survey, the ACC reported expectations for US gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.2% in 2011 and 3.3% in 2012, each a 0.1 percentage point improvement from the prior month’s survey.

The ACC said that most of its economic forecasters were from industrial companies or consultancies, and had expertise in the dynamics of the US manufacturing sector.

For 2011, business investment is now expected to rise by 9.0%, the ACC said – up 0.2 percentage points from expectations last month and a significant turnaround from a 17.1% decline in 2009.

US industrial production, which the ACC said is a more meaningful benchmark than GDP for performance of basic and specialty chemicals, is expected to rise 4.6% in 2011. That represents a 0.4 percentage point improvement from the January survey.

Consumer spending in 2011 should rise 9.0%, down by 0.1 percentage points from expectations in the prior month, the ACC said.

The unemployment picture also improved from January expectations, with economists forecasting an average rate of 9.2% and 8.4% in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Both were 0.2 percentage point improvements from expectations in the prior month.

Forecasts for 2012 for gains in consumer spending and industrial production held flat at 2.9% and 4.0%, respectively.

The ACC released the survey in conjunction with its weekly economic report.

In the report, the ACC noted rising US chemical output in all regions, mirroring the upturn in economic expectations.

The largest gains were registered in the US Gulf region, the ACC said, which is dominated by the production of building-block materials such as petrochemicals, inorganics and synthetic materials.

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By: Ben DuBose
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