The growth rate of the large and diverse chemical industry in North America tends to track GDP, but a confluence of factors is expected to accelerate the industry's growth relative to the overall economy during the next five to ten years. By the end of this period, the U.S. - representing more than 80 percent of the North American chemical market - will be a larger net exporter of chemicals than it is today.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration's annual energy outlook - which was released earlier this spring - anticipated that the industrial sector's energy demand would outpace all other sectors through 2040, and a just-released EIA report projected that bulk chemicals would account for a "large portion of both consumption and anticipated growth," with the value of chemical shipments increasing from $288bn in 2013 to $429bn in 2025.
Following OPEC's decision at the end of November to maintain production at its current level, the Brent spot price of oil closed at $70.02 per barrel, down 39 percent from its closing price of $115.19 on June 19, 2014. Similarly, the WTI spot price fell by 39 percent over the same period, closing at $66.15 at the end of November. What's next? Will the price of oil continue to fall, and if so, how far? Will the price of oil level out? Or will it rebound?