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Dow Chemical sees mixed conditions for rest of '05
Thu May 12, 2005 03:22 PM ET

NEW YORK, May 12 (Reuters) - Dow Chemical Co. expects industry conditions to be mixed for the rest of 2005, its chief executive told investors on Thursday.

Andrew Liveris, named CEO last November, said the industry will see an improved supply-demand balance but that energy costs will remain high and volatile.

"They have become a permanent part of the landscape," Liveris told shareholders at the company's annual meeting in Midland, Michigan.

"For the rest of 2005 we expect conditions to be mixed," he said.

He also said growth going forward would be "slower but sustainable."

Challenges facing the No. 1 U.S. chemicals makers include higher costs for U.S. natural gas, a primary ingredient in chemicals, he said.

Prices for the gas have surged in recent years, as supplies dwindle, raising costs for U.S. chemical producers. Natural gas once offered U.S. chemical producers a competitive advantage when exporting their products.

Shares of Dow Chemical were down 3.15 percent, or $1.51, to $46.38 on the Big Board after touching a lifetime high of $56.75 on March 9.

Source: Reuters

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