American Chemistry Matters: Driving Innovation, Creating Jobs and Enhancing Safety

Experts are bullish on a manufacturing revival led by American chemistry

Valence investment banking analyst Anton Ticktin could be called an advocate of supply-chain economics. He credits abundant, affordable supplies of natural gas from shale for the resurrection of the $2.5 trillion chemical industry, giving U.S. chemical companies an enormous competitive edge in the global economy.

Having observed the benefits of low-cost chemical feedstocks such as ethane and propane ripple through the manufacturing sector, Ticktin recently told Forbes that “chemicals go into everything, they are part of the first step into the creation of so many different products” that drive the growth of other industries and sectors.

Some big winners besides chemical companies are the consumer products and the coats and paintings industries, Ticktin said.

Ticktin is not the only one with bullish expectations for U.S. industry. “North American polyethylene (PE) makers are getting ready to ride a wave of shale gas,” according to PlasticsNews:

New PE capacity will be fed by massive planned expansions for ethylene feedstock. More than 200 million pounds of new ethylene capacity will come online this year, with more than 2.5 billion pounds scheduled for 2013 and almost 3.9 billion pounds set for 2014.

Where there is supply, there is also demand. According to the IHS Chemical consulting firm in Houston, “global PE demand growth is set to average 4.7 percent from 2012-17,” which is good news for manufacturers and workers.

Data points about the benefits of natural gas abound, and the overwhelming evidence reveals a shale boom reverberating throughout the economy, as Forbes concluded:

The bottom line is that through the lens that is the chemicals industry, Ticktin is seeing the U.S. recovery strengthening vis-à-vis the rest of the world. While GDP is still lagging, the rise in volume and sales seen in the chemical industry should be a good omen for the broader economy.

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