As a kid, I can remember watching many storms in awe. First, there was the power and brilliance of a lightning strike and then the fearful wait for the inevitable following thunder. How loud would it be? As the seconds dragged on for hours, there was a certain ‘fearful’ sense of anticipation. And then BOOM, the house shook and at last the sheer magnitude of its power was felt.
From a macroeconomic perspective, one cannot deny that the animal spirits have been released in the United States business community. A confidence has returned that has not been present since before the financial crisis. The powerful combination of a globally competitive tax policy (for the first time in several generations), a significant rollback in onerous regulations, and lower than required interest rates have created an extremely positive business environment in the United States. We expect that this will continue to power global growth in real terms. So with a solid foundation underneath the global economic system, we expect to see accelerating growth from our existing customers as they themselves ride the rising tide of global GDP growth.
The price of oil has recently hit two and half year highs and that might bring some relief to the oil services sector that depends on higher prices for energy. Today, we are positioned to finally reap the benefit of the shale gas revolution and the impact on US chemical exports. At present, the impact has been limited, but it appears that 2018 and beyond are shaping up to be something special for the Chemical Export market in the USA. Of course, normal geopolitical risks exist as they do every year, but they appear to be receding. Don’t get me wrong -- there is plenty of evidence that populism and protectionism will be an ongoing concern. In our view, the takeaway message is that we can now focus our innovative spirits to fight disruption as the number one enemy of our plans for 2018 and beyond.
Though we accomplished many great achievements and successes in 2017, there is more work to be done - there is always more work to be done. We have the unique benefit of culture, the bonds of family and the warmth of ourhome to provide comfort and a strong platform for the future. We look forward to accomplishing many things together as we continue to help our customers win in 2018!