Tony Hankins, president, Huntsman polyurethanes gave the keynote paper at this year’s UTECH 2015 conference in Maastricht, the Netherlands, this is his view from the top.
My perspective is that of a European who has spent the past decade living and working in the US and the decade before that based in Asia – so perhaps I am an insider looking from the outside.
While there is uncertainty and concern hanging over the European economy, I feel upbeat about the prospects for our industry in Europe. Because we are an industry that is creative, adaptable and resilient!
Since the onset of the Great Recession, in 2009, the road to recovery for the global economy has been slow, uneven and quite frightening at times.
Europe has suffered relatively more than other world regions. Growth has been weaker since 2009 compared with other parts of the world. It is constrained by many factors including:
- Continued uncertainty around the Euro
- Weak investment
- Slow demand within Europe
- Declining demand in many export markets.
This is reflected in industrial production and unemployment figures.
Employment in the Eurozone has shrunk over the past five years. Unemployment remains stubbornly high. At the turn of the year, unemployment in the European Union was almost 10% and in the Eurozone it was 11.2%.
Are we downhearted? No!
But the global PU industry has got through…