US at top of chemical cycle, Europe and Asia at bottom – exec

30 January 2014 21:48 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The global chemical industry remains in a typical cyclical pattern, with the US at the top and Europe and Asia-Pacific at the bottom of the cycle, an executive with ExxonMobil said on Thursday.

“And that’s why we’ve over time invested in each of these places where we can bring some technology or get an advantage or a logistics advantage in order to be able to supply all of those regions through the business cycle,” said David Rosenthal, vice president of investor relations and secretary at the US-based global major.

“But, most importantly, [we will] be able to take advantage when you get an upside, and we are certainly well positioned to do that with our facilities,” he told analysts during a Q4 earnings conference call.

US demand has picked up “a little bit” coming into 2014, margins remain healthy and export opportunities are attractive, Rosenthal said.

The producer still sees some weakness in Europe in the way of the economy and additional industry capacity that has been brought on line, he said.

While Asia-Pacific might be at the bottom of the chemical cycle, demand has picked up, although margins “continue to be quite weak”, Rosenthal said.

By Jeremy Pafford