EPCA ’11: Low US consumer confidence takes toll on chemicals

02 October 2011 15:05  [Source: ICIS news]

Low US consumer confidence takes toll on chemsBERLIN (ICIS)--US chemicals demand is slowing and the outlook points to a continued lull as long as US consumers refuse to resume spending, a raw materials buyer said on Sunday.

The US economy is soft and consumers are reluctant to spend because of a lack of consensus in Washington on how to fix the problem, the source said on the sidelines of the 45th annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting.

“Even people with jobs are afraid of spending money,” the buyer added.

The US economy grew by a revised 1.3% in the second quarter, according to data from the Department of Commerce, but such an increase does little to improve consumer sentiment because it is not enough to curb high unemployment.

The economy must grow at around 2.5% annually just to accommodate new workers entering the jobs market.

The slowdown in 2011 is unlikely to be a repeat of 2008, but its effect on chemicals demand is being felt widely, the buyer said, citing growing weakness in the construction and automobile sectors, two key downstream markets for chemicals.

By: William Lemos
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