Industrials

CEO of chemical giant Dow: Coronavirus concerns are increasing demand for cleaning products

Key Points
  • Demand for cleaning products is rising due to coronavirus, Dow CEO Jim Fitterling said Wednesday on CNBC.
  • "I think as you see people stay at home and use more food from the grocery store, you're going to see a pull on packaging as well," he said.
  • On Tuesday, 3M CEO Mike Roman told CNBC that his company is "going 24/7" to produce protective masks.
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Dow Inc. CEO Jim Fitterling on earnings, Chinese demand, plastic waste and more

Dow CEO Jim Fitterling told CNBC on Wednesday that the coronavirus outbreak is driving up demand for some of the company's products that are used in household cleaning items.

Fitterling, appearing on "Squawk on the Street" after his company topped analyst expectations for its fourth quarter, said Dow's cleaning products are seeing increased demand due to the rapidly spreading virus.

"We've seen some demand pull from coronavirus on things like cleaning materials for disinfectants, like you would use in household cleaners; non-wovens for masks and wipes and those kinds of things," Fitterling said. "And I think as you see people stay at home and use more food from the grocery store, you're going to see a pull on packaging as well."

Fitterling said he's unsure what the overall impact of the virus would be for Dow, which sees Asia as a growth area.

"I haven't seen a massive negative impact from the coronavirus yet, but we'll watch that," he said, as the confirmed cases in the outbreak, which started in China, reached more than 6,000 with over 130 deaths.

Dow is not the only company that is seeing demand for some products rise due to the virus. Mike Roman, CEO of 3M, told CNBC on Tuesday that his company is "going 24/7" to produce protective masks.

While coronavirus concerns may be helping some companies, it could slow economic growth in Asia, and specifically in China, which has implemented travel restrictions to fight the spread.