Chemical production expanded in 2021 as post-lockdown spending boosted demand for chemicals and the other goods and materials that contain them, the American Chemistry Council says.
“While risks for the global economy remain, the U.S. chemical industry is in a strong position going into 2022,” said Martha Moore, ACC chief economist and author of the year-end outlook.
“Supply chain bottlenecks appear to be easing, and momentum is rising as manufacturing activity resumes and inventories are rebuilt. American chemistry is poised to accelerate as strong consumer demand and restocking drive growth.”
Total chemical production in 2022 is supposed to rise 4.3% and then by 2.1% in 2023. Basic chemicals will increase 5.1% in 2022 and 2.6% in 2023, with specialty chemicals up 4.1% this year and 1.6% in 2023. Plastic resins will jump 6% in 2022 and 3% the following year.
Tempered by the continuing health crisis and supply chain disruptions, the global economy continues to recover. It is expected to have grown by 5.7% in 2021 and by 4.4% in 2022. U.S. GDP grew by 5.6% during 2021, reversing a 3.4% decline in 2020.
After a 7.2% contraction in 2020, U.S. industrial production rose 5.5% in 2021 and will grow by 4% in 2022, driven by a rebound in demand for goods, ACC forecasts.
Imports and exports of chemicals rebounded strongly in 2021, though the pace of improvement slowed in the second half due to port delays and other logistics disruptions. Exports also were hurt by weather-related production outages along the Gulf Coast earlier in the year..
Exports rose to $151 billion in 2021, while imports grew to $127 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $24.0 billion, down from $28.6 billion in 2020. Exports will rise 7.3% in 2022, to $162 billion, while imports will grow 7.1%, to $136 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $26 billion. By 2025, U.S. exports are seen reaching $182 billion.