US chemical manufacturers upbeat about industry outlook

Business is up and the outlook optimistic for the US chemical manufacturing industry, according to the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association's (SOCMA) Second Annual Business Outlook Survey. However, results also showed a prevailing feeling that market share held by competitors in evolving foreign markets, such as China, India and Eastern Europe, will double to 40% by 2007.

The survey was based on the opinions of a diverse sample of SOCMA members representing a significant segment of the market. It asked their opinions on a broad range of subjects including the state of the market, capital investments, customer mix and keys to success and survival. More than half the respondents (56%) said the state of the market is 'good' - a remarkable leap from last year's survey when the corresponding number was only 27%. Additionally, 70% of the 117 responding companies expect to see a 5-10% increase in sales in 2005.

'We were both surprised and pleased to see the optimistic economic picture these results paint,' said Robert Dollinger of Rhodia Pharma Solutions and chair of SOCMA's survey team. 'It clearly contradicts reports we've seen regarding poor and declining business conditions for chemical manufacturers. Further, it makes clear that the American fine chemical/custom business has recognised the new reality of competent global competition.'

'US manufacturers are saddled with the burden of overhead costs stemming from high corporate taxes, frivolous lawsuits and excessive government regulation, commented SOCMA President Joe Acker, 'all of which put us at a disadvantage when competing with other trading nations. We must create a level playing field so the US chemical manufacturing industry can compete and win against foreign competitors.'