The strong U.S. dollar, a weak economy in Europe, and slower growth in China are complicating forward-looking spending plans for many chemical companies this year. Individually, plans vary widely, but as a group, firms are taking a cautious approach to future-oriented spending. In some cases they are looking to university research alliances to get more bang for the buck.
Eight U.S. and European companies says they will, as a group, lift research spending 1.3 percent in 2015 to a combined $3.6bn. Twenty-two U.S. and European firms say they will decrease spending on new plants and equipment by 4.4 percent to $22.9bn.
The capital spending outlook is colored by BASF, which because of its size has a strong influence on industry statistics. It plans to decrease its 2015 budget by nearly $1.5bn because it is pulling back on its oil and gas investments. Without BASF, the group plans a 2.4 percent increase in capital spending this year.
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