U.S. Chemical Industry Outlook “Gloomy” As Coronavirus Cases Cross 8.2 Lakh in the Country

As per the recent interim updates by the American Chemistry Council (ACC),  there is significant uncertainty in the projections of the U.S. chemical industry as it analyzes the potential impacts of Covid-19 which has caused indefinite halt in the country’s manufacturing activities and muted trading. ACC projects the world trade to plummet by 10.5% this year as the pandemic brings a “perfect storm” to the global economy with U.S. experiencing the hardest blow as it reports the spread of the virus in more than 8.2 lakh people, as on Wednesday, 22nd April 2020. It is being feared that if lockdown restrictions are not eased before the end of Q2 2020, it would result in a sudden and severe collapse in global economy sliding it into the steepest recession since the 1930s.

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According to the ACC update, following factors have put an undue pressure on the U.S. chemical sector which might take a huge toll on the country’s economic growth:

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  1. The year started with muted trade activity as the Trump administration revised trade agreements with China.
  2. Oil prices plummeted to reach a negative territory this week, putting the shale-gas producers at risk. The shale gas sector powering the U.S. chemical exports has evaporated.
  3. A decline in crude oil production could increase the natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) prices, as if refiners induce production cuts this would mean lesser associated gas produced. This may further affect the U.S. petrochemicals sector.

ACC reports that U.S. chemical volumes are expected to fall sharply in 2020 before showing a further rise in 2021. The table shows ACC predictions regarding chemical imports and exports in the two years relying on some baseline scenarios.

Key Headlines

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  • Four Ethanol Plants Idled in Minnesota, U.S. Due to Demand Destruction
  • Double Whammy of Covid-19 on the U.S. Chemical Industry, 5.1% of the Workforce May Lose Jobs in 2020
  • ExxonMobil Starts Construction of a Worth $10 Billion Chemical Complex in China
  • India’s Tiruppur Unit to Grab Investment Opportunity in the PPE Sector

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Source: ChemAnalyst

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