The chemical industry consists of thousands of organizations and businesses around the world that use basic raw materials to produce chemicals of commercial value to consumers and other end-use industries. The chemical industry uses chemical processes and various purification methods to produce various solids, liquids and gases. Most of these products are used to make other items, but few are used directly by users. These chemicals are used to make plastics, lightweight automotive components, synthetic fibers, fertilizers, household goods, cosmetics, computers, and many other products.
The chemical industry is one of the oldest industries in manufacturing. It not only plays a vital role in meeting the daily needs of the common man but also contributes significantly to the industrial and economic growth of a country. Over the past few years, the global chemical industry has undergone significant structural changes - shifting production sites to Asian countries, new emerging growth markets, new technology and raw material costs, and the impact of the global financial crisis. Over the last two years, the commodity/bulk and specialty chemicals segments have fallen sharply in demand and margin as a result of the global financial crisis. All chemical majors expect to see higher sales growth for their chemical products from emerging markets such as China, India, Brazil and Korea. There have been several investments in the Middle East with significant gains in low-cost hydrocarbon feedstock. This is mainly due to high GDP growth rates due to economic growth and new application development areas in these regions. The global chemical industry will focus strictly on controlling cash flow, operating rates and securing raw materials globally. Key challenges include regulation and carbon emissions policies that drive companies to greener products and move away from petrochemical-based feed stocks.
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