Chemical companies are facing dramatic changes in global markets, feedstock supply, corporate mergers and other areas.
Once designed to operate in isolation, chemical manufacturing control systems are now being connected to the virtual world.
The chemical industry in Korea is a case study in strength and resilience, not surprising in a country where the GDP has tripled every decade since the 1960s.
During the global downturn, working capital management was top of mind for the chemical industry. With today’s increased revenues and ready access to cheap debt, companies might feel that they have fewer incentives to change their processes.
Talent is at the top of the agenda for many executives around the world and this is especially true for the chemical industry.
Backed by low feedstock prices from shale gas, US chemical companies are maintaining steady growth in 2015.
With few exceptions, the global automotive industry has made a solid recovery from the downturn in 2008.
Shifting patterns in supply and demand, cost pressures, market segmentation mean that chemical supply chains need to be increasingly agile.
Specialty chemicals have helped shape today’s global construction industry, introducing new levels of structural strength, protection, and energy efficiency to homes, commercial buildings and public infrastructures around the world.
As one of the emerging “tiger economies” of Asia, India has long enjoyed rapid growth. However, the global downturn left its mark on India’s economic progress, and the past several years have seen increased dissatisfaction within the country due to complex bureaucracy, inconsistent tax laws, infrastructure problems and other factors that impede job creation and economic growth.
China has long dominated Asia’s economic growth, with India close behind. Likewise, even two or three years ago, in the boardrooms of chemical companies around the world, an Asian growth strategy would focus on China, India, and nothing else.
“Slow but steady wins the race” might not be the official motto of Chinese policy makers, but it reflects a prudent, sustainable long-term perspective that the county’s economic policies appear to support.
In 2013, the European chemical industry began its recovery from the global downturn, with a monthly output growth of 0.7 percent in November. However, EU chemicals output still declined by 1 percent over the year, and full recovery remains elusive.
The economic potential for the African chemical industry is clear enough, with low costs for labor and materials, a relatively young and rapidly growing population, an expanding middle class, a rising demand for products and one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Recently, a fundamental change has occurred in the US energy landscape. Fracking has substantially reduced natural gas prices, thereby making US energy independence a real possibility.
The Chinese economy has entered a unique stage of development. It is slowing, but in a controlled and more sustainable manner.
The global chemical industry is undergoing dynamic change, with a range of external factors presenting industry executives with vastly divergent challenges in different regions of the world.
Today’s chemical companies are taking major steps to create a more sustainable chemical sector. Megaforces can present business risks, but perhaps more importantly, they can fuel innovation for forward-looking companies.
As 2013 began, the US Congress and the Obama Administration enacted an agreement that addressed elements of the so-called “fiscal cliff” – specifically, as examples, revising income tax rates and delaying immediate Federal spending sequestration under the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Multinational companies are challenged with the prospect of another year of uncertain recovery in the worldwide economy.
Manufacturers in developed economies face ever-increasing competition from their counterparts in emerging markets where many costs are lower.
Only two years ago, Brazilian GNP was growing at a rate of 7.5 percent, and the future seemed bright for both the Brazilian chemical industry and the country’s economy in general.