Industry outlook: fresh start for manufacturing renaissance?
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The chemical industry enables productivity and progress across all the major manufacturing sectors of the economy as its products are everywhere. The industry has been growing faster than GDP and has been able to outperform the world capital market in terms of total return to shareholders.
The macro picture has also been positive. The world economy has continued to grow in the eighth year of recovery since the financial crisis. Disruptions have been few during this period, as also indicated by typically low readings on volatility indices. Overall growth has been slow but sustained in the developed economies, with a quicker pace in the major emerging economies.
McKinsey’s latest economic conditions snapshot reveals executive optimism that conditions will improve over the next several months. A closer look reveals some variance at the country and sector levels, with the potential for political conflicts in a number of regions to affect economic outcomes.
Going forward, the US doesn’t have to settle for lackluster growth. But it does have to get moving. The arrival of a new administration and a new Congress is a fresh chance to find common ground. The private sector can be the link that brings both parties together around a new agenda for revving up growth.
Success will depend on navigating the opportunities and uncertainties as the overall manufacturing sector reshapes itself: How quickly can the chemical industry move back to cyclicality? What other sectors and regions will benefit quickly from the US manufacturing renaissance? How would the European and Japanese chemicals industry restructure? Will the Indian growth also go into high gear? Will digital advances change the nature of the chemical industry?
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