Cefic Trend Report EU Chemicals Output Growth Flat in 2013
European chemicals sector output was stagnant in 2013, according to the latest Cefic Chemicals Trends Report. The year ended with an overall strong December, despite petrochemicals contraction.
Brussels – Zero growth in 2013 meant the sector remained 6.4% below the pre-crisis, full-year peak level reached in 2007. The year-end figure was slightly better than the Cefic forecast given last September, which predicted a slight contraction of 0.5% for the year.
Latest monthly data show output expanded 2.0% in December year on year, the fourth consecutive month of above-zero growth. A stronger second half 2013 helped pull the sector out of a recession.
EU chemicals exports keep driving sector activity, the net trade surplus reaching € 45.8 billion through November 2013. The surplus grew by € 779 million during the January-November 2013 period compared with the same period the year prior. EU chemicals prices fell 2.7% in December 2013 compared to December 2012. Year-on-year total sales were 3.3% lower for the first 11 months of 2013.
Sector confidence decreased slightly in January 2014, after increasing for three consecutive months. Capacity utilisation saw a minor drop from 79.1% in the third quarter of 2013 to 78.8% in the fourth.
Basic Inorganics Offset Petrochemicals Production Drop
Petrochemicals output continued to contract in December, down by 7.1% compared with December 2012. The steep drop was partially offset by strong growth in basic inorganics, up 8.8% in December year-on-year.
Polymers output expanded by 4.0% while consumer chemicals grew by 0.8%. Specialty chemicals expanded by 1.6% during the same period.
More about EU chemical producer prices on the next page.