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- Profit margins have been shrinking; return on capital has been in steady decline.
- Globalization - A series of economic factors have also fostered globalization in the chemical industry, including: Reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers. World economic growth, in turn promoting development of consumer and industrial markets in developing countries
- The industry shift in trading leaders and growth of world trade patterns reflect the impact of globalization.
- Growth in emerging markets - Companies are investing in China, India and other emerging markets to expand their business. Chemical companies are also shifting capital investment from historical markets to emerging regions to take advantage of lower costs and market opportunity.
- Environmental impact - Convergence around “sustainable business” in response to stricter environmental standards.
- Input costs are a major challenge for chemical producers with feedstock positioning from emerging markets a growing strategic option, as well as linking commodity costs with selling prices to manage risk and aligning strategy.