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ACC: Polyurethane Market Survey

Polyurethane (PU) production markets among members of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are strong but changing, according to the 2006 End-Use Market Survey on the Polyurethanes Industry in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The survey, conducted by IAL Associates on behalf of the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) of the American Chemistry Council, indicates that between 2005 and 2006, Mexico registered 4.9 percent volume growth for established PU products as it continues to evolve as an important low-cost base for many industries, notably automobiles and appliances. During the same period, U.S. volume was down slightly and Canadian volume was flat as manufacturers shifted their focus to high-performance, high-growth specialty markets such as viscoelastic foams, natural oil polyols (NOPs), and waterborne polyurethane dispersions (WBPUDs).

“The slight decline in polyurethane volume production in the U.S. over the last two years is not surprising when you consider the increase in imported goods, slowdowns in automotive production and consumer spending, and the interruption of production after Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” said Neeva-Gayle Candelori, director of CPI. Adds IAL Associate Director Angela Austin: “Although overall polyurethane production in North America declined by 2.3 percent a year between 2004 and 2006, all three NAFTA countries have resilient, healthy PU industries. The ebb and flow of volume is, in part, a reflection of rapidly changing global dynamics that are shifting certain types of production to low-cost geographies in Asia and Latin America.”

Conducted every two years, the CPI End-Use Market Survey addresses the North American polyurethanes industry. IAL Consultants interviewed more than 350 organizations and companies in the North America - including end users, formulators and producers - to complete the survey.

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