Merger and acquisition activity in the chemical industry slowed during the second quarter, and experts are pointing to economic and geopolitical uncertainty. According to the accounting and consulting firm PwC, the chemical industry agreed to 172 deals in the second quarter, a decline of 7% from the first quarter. Additionally, the number of deals announced in the first half of 2019 dropped by 19% versus the same period in 2018. PwC points out that deal volume is at its lowest level in 12 quarters. The firm attributes the slowness “to the ongoing macroeconomic uncertainties, including tariffs and rising geopolitical tensions.” This may change, however, PwC says. For example, China’s Foreign Investment Law, set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2020, is intended to encourage investment in China and may spur the purchase of Chinese firms by multinational companies. Balmoral Advisors, in its own analysis, also cites geopolitical uncertainty for the M&A softness. For instance, concerns about Brexit could be having a dampening effect on European transactions, Balmoral says.