Chemical Industry Disappointing Start of 2013: EU Chemicals Production Drops by 1,7 Percent

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Europe in difficult times: Chemicals production in the EU fell by 1.7 % during the first two months of 2013, the European chemical association Cefic states. With thin order books and declining sales figures, confidence in the industry remains low...

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EU chemicals sector output contracts 1.7 per cent during first two months of 2013
EU chemicals sector output contracts 1.7 per cent during first two months of 2013
(Picture: Cefic)

EU chemicals production dropped 1.7 per cent in the first two months of 2013, according to the latest Cefic Chemicals Trends Report. Monthly data for February showed a 2.3 per cent drop compared with February the year prior. The EU chemicals production level for the first two months of the year remains 8.1 per cent below the peak in 2007, data show. Monthly data for February show prices for chemicals in the European Union climbed on a year-on-year basis in February, up 1.1 per cent.

The overall EU chemicals industry confidence indicator continued to deteriorate in April, the third straight month of decline, mainly due to lower order-book assessments. Recently published data show sales were slightly lower in January 2013 compared with January 2012, but stood 3.5 per cent higher than the pre-crisis, full-year peak level reached in 2008. The EU chemicals industry capacity utilisation level, compiled by Cefic and based on Eurostat data, nudged downward to 78.3 per cent in the first quarter from 78.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012. Latest data show the EU chemicals sector employment level for 2012 was 0.1 per cent lower compared with 2011.

Chemicals Output Edges Down in February

Monthly data for February 2013 showed a 2.3 per cent decline compared with February the year prior. The EU chemicals production index for February was dragged down by specialty chemicals, which dropped 4.2 per cent year-onyear during the month. Lower overall production was also affected by petrochemicals, down 1.5 per cent in February compared with February 2012.

Basic inorganics and consumer chemicals production decreased 1.2 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively on a year-on-year basis in February. Polymers output registered no significant changes.

Chemical Prices Up: Plastics Climb by Three Percent

Year-on-year EU chemicals prices rose by 1.1 per cent in February, driven by the price for plastics, which increased by 3.0 per cent in February as compared with the year prior. Prices climbed for consumer chemicals by 1.2 per cent, while pharmaceuticals prices edged down by 0.1 per cent in February as compared with the year prior. EU chemicals producer prices recorded a 1.8 per cent upward bump in the first two months of the year compared to the same two-month period in 2012.

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