WASHINGTON, DC – Following a strong fourth quarter in 2011, the U.S. economy started 2012 on firm ground with gains in consumer spending, manufacturing output and housing. Those positive gains appear to be eroding, according to the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Mid-Year 2012 Situation and Outlook.

The report finds that first- and second-quarter 2012 growth was weak and that underlying drivers will constrain growth for the remainder of the year.

Turning to the business of chemistry, the financial crisis in Europe and slowdown in China and other emerging economies continue to take a toll on demand for U.S. exports. This outlook, coupled with weakness in U.S. manufacturing, will likely produce muted demand for chemical products in the second half of 2012. Overall, American chemistry output is anticipated to rise by 0.5 percent in 2012, before accelerating to a 2.3 percent growth rate in 2013.

Despite a weakened outlook for GDP growth, global chemistry continues to advance, with expectations for output of chemicals in emerging markets to outpace production in developed countries. China will continue to grow strongly but at a slower pace than the previous decade. India, Africa, Latin America and other emerging markets will continue to expand, with the strongest growth in 2012 expected in specialty chemicals, consumer products and agricultural chemicals. Overall, output is expected to grow by 2.3 percent in 2012, 4.3 percent in 2013 and 4.7 percent in 2014.

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