Although the economic outlook throughout Europe this year is generally good, manufacturing growth is likely to see a widespread slowdown, according to the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI. Industrial gases however, are likely to remain one of the few growth markets.

Higher borrowing costs are expected to push down residential construction investment, but higher personal incomes and a drop in unemployment should boost sales. Overall however, the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI expects a move away from exports toward domestic investment in fuel growth in 2007.

Interestingly for gas producers the research also shows that within basic chemicals, the decline of construction will likely lower demand for higher grades of certain gases. However, high demand for industrial gases and strength in petroleum refining, chemicals, electronics and some metals will help the sector to remain one of the most successful overall.