HOUSTON — Petrochemical firms will have to sharpen their skills to make it through the effects of Asia's economic crisis, according to an economist who spoke at DeWitt & Co. Inc's Petrochemical Review, held April 1-2 in Houston.
But the industry's high level of globalization puts it in a better position than others to absorb Asian impact, Ralph Layman said. Layman is executive vice president of GE Investments of Stamford, Conn., the investment management arm of General Electric Co. that manages about $65 billion in assets.
``Production is outrunning capacity and that's increasing pressure to export,'' Layman said.
``[Customers are] looking for more than the best price — they're looking for business solutions and technology,'' he said.
While the U.S. economy is on pace for 3 percent growth in 1998, Japan's economy could see less than 1 percent growth, and China could face currency devaluation if it falls short of projected 8 percent growth, said Layman.