US shale gas boom boosts country’s manufacturing: IMF

​The International Monetary Fund has noted a significant boost to the US manufacturing sector through the country’s shale gas boom.

The International Monetary Fund has noted a significant
boost to the US manufacturing sector through the country’s shale gas boom.

In a Special Feature supplement to its World Economic Outlook
report, the IMF has found a noticeable surge in US manufacturing exports
through increased shale gas production, which has lowered the country’s energy prices and helped stabilise international prices.

There has been a “decoupling” of US gas prices from the rest
of the world due to the shale gas revolution.

The Financial Times reports that US gas prices are about $US
4 per million British thermal units, compared to about $US 10 in Europe and $US
18 in Asia.

“At the same time, the share of energy-intensive
manufacturing exports in total U.S. manufacturing exports has been rising
steadily, whereas the share of non-energy-intensive exports has been declining,”
according to the IMF.

In all, notes the Times, manufacturing exports from the US
have received a 6 per cent increase per annum due to the shale gas boom, which
has been especially beneficial to producers of things such as steel and
fertiliser.

Cheap gas in the US was cited last year by Australian fertiliser and explosives maker Incitec Pivot in its decision to set up an ammonia factory
in Louisiana rather than in Australia.