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Fiscal Cliff, Economic Worries Weigh on Chemical Execs' Minds

Posted: December 19, 2012

A recent survey has revealed that many chemical industry executives say U.S. fiscal cliff worries and general economic uncertainty are driving increased focus on operational excellence and a strong balance sheet.

According to a poll conducted by KPMG LLP, a U.S. audit, tax and advisory services firm, 41% of industry business leaders indicate that in the current macroeconomic environment, their biggest concern is the U.S. fiscal cliff. An additional 20% point to a slowdown in emerging markets and 19% cite Eurozone debt issues.

Despite economic challenges, executives say the chemicals industry will continue to see strong growth in the U.S. KPMG has found that exports of product derived from shale gas are expected to become a critical growth platform. According to the poll, however, 28% of chemical industry business leaders say their companies do not currently have an emerging markets growth strategy in place.

"This response is startling because we see emerging markets as a critical growth factor for any large chemical company over the next decade, especially as demand in those regions will only increase," said Paul Harnick, chief operating officer of KPMG's global chemicals and performance technologies practice.