Demand for plastics and rubber products will remain strong in 2021, although production of plastic resins will decline slightly because of outages and delivery issues.
Those are the expectations of American Chemistry Council officials Kevin Swift and Martha Moore, who hosted a media webinar June 22.
Global chemicals and plastics markets "are quite good," said Swift, chief economist for Washington-based ACC. "Demand is doing well everywhere, except in places like India. There's going to be a revival of foreign trade."
ACC expects U.S. GDP to grow 6.4 percent in 2021, after declining 3.5 percent in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. GDP growth for 2022 is expected to be 4.3 percent.
"The country is recovering," Swift said. "There's a lot of momentum in the economy right now. We're seeing a shift in consumer spending from goods to services, although there are some challenges because of labor shortages."
U.S. demand for plastics and rubber products is expected to increase by 6.9 percent this year after declining 6.6 percent in 2020, according to Moore, ACC's senior director of economics and policy analysis. Growth in that category for 2022 is anticipated to be 2.4 percent.
In plastic resins, production is expected to be down 0.5 percent in 2021, largely because of the winter storm that hit Texas in February, affecting production on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Other factors such as port congestion, shipping route blockages and a shortage of shipping containers also are affecting resin production in 2021, Moore said.