According to data from Chemical & Engineering News's (C&EN) annual ranking of top US chemical producers, both sales and profits grew in 2017 for chemical companies, with the top 50 firms generating $285.4 billion in revenues, a 9.4% increase. The rise also indicates the first upward turn of chemical sales since 2015. DowDuPont topped the rankings with $62.5 billion in sales, and also led the pack in terms of stock market value at $165.8 billion at the end of 2017. BASF was the largest foreign-headquartered chemical company, with 8.5% growth in regional sales in 2017 to $18.0 billion The growth in sales and profits is due more to energy and raw materials than increased shipment volumes, which only increased 0.8%. Oil prices fell almost 60% to less than $40/barrel during 2014 and 2015, and this trend caused chemical prices to drop between 2014 and 2016 as well. However, oil prices have been steadily climbing, which has positively affected chemical sales. The 45 companies that report profits showed a 3.0% increase in operating profits in 2017 to $34.3 billion. Combined market capitalization for the 35 public companies on the list totaled $475.2 billion in 2017, a 25.7% spike, implying that investors expect strong revenues for chemical companies in the future. The American Chemical Council forecasts chemical volumes to increase in 2018 by 3.7%, while the US Energy Information Administration estimates a 13.6% jump for oil prices in 2018, averaging $59/barrel. Source: C&EN

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