Capacity-utilization rates in the global chemical sector were fairly stable from 1989 to 2008, according to data from the American Chemistry Council. The industry recorded an 87% to 93% range from 1994 to 2003, ramping up to 92% to 94% until 2008, then falling to 77% at the height of the economic downturn. The sector recovered, but has only achieved 2003 levels as production in key markets, including the U.S., remained "essentially flat," while Asia registered moderate gains, the ACC report adds.

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