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“The U.S. chemical industry renaissance is just getting started,” said Kevin Swift, chief economist of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and lead author of the trade group’s Year-End 2015 Chemical Industry Situation and Outlook. “The fundamentals are strong,” he added. “Key domestic end-use markets expanded, consumer spending accelerated, the job market began to firm, and households enjoyed extra savings from lower energy costs.”
Swift pointed to light vehicle sales, up 5 percent in 2015, and housing starts, up 12 percent in 2015, as two large, end-use markets that enjoyed banner years. Each light vehicle contains approximately $3,500 worth of chemistry, and each new home approximately $15,000 worth of chemistry products.
The annual publication forecasts a 2.9 percent increase in domestic chemical production in 2016, followed by a 4.4 percent expansion in 2017. During the second half of the decade, U.S. chemistry production is expected to expand at a pace of over 4 percent per year on average, outpacing that of the overall U.S. economy.
According to Swift, the momentum will continue as new capacity comes online in the next several years. As of Dec. 15, 2015, more than 261 new chemical production projects had been announced since 2010 with a total value of more than $158bn, and a full 34 percent already complete or under construction. “The United States is still the place for chemical companies to invest,” said Swift.
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