Economy a Mixed Bag, Says Expert

Economist Dr. Robert Fry of Dupont provided an overview of current and expected conditions for attendees at Glass Week '05 today.

Fry started by reminding the group that since its last meeting imports of glass to United States have exceeded exports for the first time. "The United States glass industry has gone from a surplus to deficit in just two years," he said. Unfortunately, the depressed state of the dollar on international markets does little to help trade with China, as the Chinese dollar, the yen, is pegged to the U.S. dollar rather than the Euro. "They stay right with us," he said.

Participants in Glass Week were most interested in expectations for the flat glass market. "Flat glass was declining but demand is now moving slightly upward," he said. "We are pessimistic about the short term but much more upbeat about the long term. 2004 will match 2000 as the best year for growth since 1988," he added.

Fry said that he has revised his forecasts regarding interest rates. "We now expect the Fed [Federal Reserve] to raise interest rates four more times this year."

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