Business

Dow Chemical to raise prices up to 20%

Better start stocking up on diapers and detergent.

Consumers hit hard in recent months by sharply higher prices for gasoline and food should prepare to start paying more for various household items following Dow Chemical Co.'s decision to raise its prices by up to 20 percent to offset the soaring cost of energy.

The company, which announced the price increases Wednesday, took the unusual step of directing blame at the nation's energy policymakers.

“For years, Washington has failed to address the issue of rising energy costs and, as a result, the country now faces a true energy crisis,” Andrew Liveris, Dow Chemical's chairman and chief executive, said in a written statement.

The Midland, Mich.-based company supplies a broad swath of industries, from agriculture to health care, and any sizable price jumps would likely affect almost all of them.

The price increases will take effect Sunday and will be based on a product's exposure to rising costs. Dow Chemical said it spent $8 billion on energy and hydrocarbon-based feedstock, or raw materials, back in 2002 and that could climb fourfold to $32 billion this year.

The company last month reported a 3 percent drop in quarterly earnings.

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