15-Jun-2009 - SRI International

Specialty Chemicals and the Global Economic Crisis

Several specialty chemical industry end-use market segments such as agriculture, water treatment, nutrition, household and personal care have showed more resilience to the current economic crisis, while consumption in key manufacturing industries such as automotive, electronics and textiles has declined sharply worldwide. SRI Consulting (SRIC) published its 2009 Overview of the Specialty Chemicals Industry, an annual comprehensive study of global specialty chemicals markets.

Lead author and Senior Consultant Uwe Fink commented ”Specialty chemicals segments were affected very differently by the current financial and economic downturn. Several specialty chemicals segments— construction chemicals, electronic chemicals, plastics additives, textile chemicals and specialty polymers— followed the downturn of their end-use industries.” Mr. Fink continued, “Other industries, including cosmetic chemicals, food additives, and industrial and institutional cleaners, suffered much less from the downturn.”

The report points out that the global specialty chemicals industry accounted for sales of $472 billion in 2008. The business segments in North America, Western Europe and Japan represent 65% of total specialty chemicals sales. As a result of the current financial and economic downturn, SRIC expects the global specialty chemicals market to shrink by approximately 4% to $451 billion in 2009. SRIC believes these economic conditions will continue until sometime in 2010 and then gradually improve. Some countries and regions will suffer greater decline than others and some will rebound earlier and faster than others. The specialty chemicals market in 2010 is estimated to reach about the same size as in 2008 and then gradually climb during the next three years to reach $530 billion in 2013.

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