Dow expects US to recover, Asia to pause, Europe to sputter

23 May 2012 17:34  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US-based Dow Chemical expects the nation's economy will continue to recover, while Asian growth will pause and western Europe will remain weak, the company's chief financial officer said on Wednesday.

"We actually see bright spots in the US," said Bill Weideman, Dow chief financial officer. He made his comments during the Goldman Sachs Basic Materials Conference.

The US is benefitting from growing automobile sales, strong agriculture and rising consumer confidence, he said.

"The most encouraging sign there, although not robust, but the most encouraging sign is we've seen a slight uptick in building and construction and, as you know, that has been pretty dismal in the last two or three years,"  Weideman said.

"It's a sign that things are starting to improve there a bit," he said.

Overall US GDP growth could exceed current forecasts, Weideman said.

Asian growth, however, has paused, particularly in China, he said. Demand did not recover as expected after the Chinese New Year.

Plus, Chinese exports to Europe have softened and domestic spending has weakened, he said.

China, however, should introduce some measures that should benefit the economy, he said.

"We are still bullish on China long term," Weideman said.

Western Europe remains weak, saddled by high unemployment and a sovereign debt crisis, Weideman said. Dow does not expect the region's economy to improve any time soon.

Latin America is stable, with the region's largest economy, Brazil, introducing stimulus measures to boost economic growth and industrial activity.

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy


By: Al Greenwood
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