The U.S. trade deficit in chemicals dropped by more than 60% in January, while exports fell only marginally to $10.74 billion, compared with $10.75 billion in December. The chemicals trade deficit of $3 billion in December went to about $1 billion in January, but that compares with a $64 million chemicals trade surplus in January 2008. "These numbers I think reflect a collapse in international trade and the synchronized global recession, which are affecting U.S. exports of chemicals," said Kevin Swift, chief economist at the American Chemistry Council. But, he said, "we are starting to see some signs now that really provide some hope."

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