NEW YORK - The Composites Institute, in its midyear report, is forecasting a 1996 growth rate for composites of 2.2 percent - down from its 3.1 percent prediction at the beginning of the year. In the report issued Aug. 26, the Composites Institute said the transportation and marine markets were growing more slowly than expected, while consumer products were performing better than expected. All segments are showing some growth, except for aircraft/defense.
``Growth in the composites industry is closely tracking the overall domestic economy,'' Catherine Randazzo, executive director of the Composites Institute, said in a prepared statement. ``The first half of 1996 is probably going to be the stronger half, particularly if there is an increase in interest rates during the latter part of 1996.''
Since the Composites Institute report, the Federal Reserve Board met on Sept. 24 and decided not to raise rates.
In February, during its annual exposition, the Composites Institute had issued the higher, 3.1-percent forecast. Then, institute officials were predicting 1996 composites shipments of about 3.27 billion pounds.
The midyear report pegs 1996 shipments at 3.24 billion pounds. That would make 1996 the third straight year that shipments topped the 3 billion pound mark, and the fifth year that shipments have increased since the recession in 1990-91.
Composites shipments in 1995 reached 3.18 billion pounds. Randazzo said the industry has not seen materials shortages this year.
The New York-based Composites Institute is a division of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. of Washington. The institute's 1997 conference will be held Jan. 27-29 in Nashville, Tenn.