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EU Chemicals Economy EU Chemicals Sector Output to Remain Stagnant in 2013

| Editor: Tobias Hüser

In 2013 the european chemical economy will increase by 0,5 per cent. The forecast of Cefic also said, the european chemical output in 2012 will contract by two per cent compared with 2011. Looking abroad to overseas economies, the United States continues a slow recovery.The shale gas boom can be a serious threat to EU chemical production.

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Dr. Kurt Bock, Cefic President: “The current EU economic downturn is weighing down on thechemical industry in Europe at a time when other world regions also face challenges.”
Dr. Kurt Bock, Cefic President: “The current EU economic downturn is weighing down on thechemical industry in Europe at a time when other world regions also face challenges.”
(Picture: BASF)

European chemicals output will contract by two per cent in 2012 compared with 2011, European chemicals group Cefic said today. A lowering of its forecast released in September, the chemicals trade body downgrade reflects recent data showing a stagnant European economy and a further decline in chemical output since the first quarter of the year. Cefic forecasts a slight expansion of 0,5 per cent in 2013.

EU automotive and construction segments have been a drag on chemicals demand in 2012, offering few encouraging signs. Sluggish demand remains for new cars as government-backed incentives to replace vehicles have now run their course. The fall-out from overcapacity in the construction market has yet to wind down as the European building sector remains at historically low levels.

Economic situation remains uncertain

Cefic President Dr. Kurt Bock said: "The current EU economic downturn is weighing down on the chemical industriy in Europe at at time when other world regions also face challenges.“ EU chemicals production this year will likely remain eight per cent below its pre-recession level. The economic situation In Europe remains uncertain, as austerity programmes designed to address stubbornly high levels of sovereign debt have led to an uptick in unemployment levels while squashing domestic demand. The European Commission predicts a 0,3 per cent contraction for the EU-27, crawling along in 2013 at just above zero.

On the product front, volatile oil and naphtha prices have caused further uncertainty in the petrochemicals sector as customers and producers both attempt to optimise inventory levels. Consumer products will be the lone chemicals sub sector in 2012 to escape a fall, while in 2013 the sector, leaving out pharmaceuticals, will again show a highest-in-class growth of only 1,0 per cent. The stagnant 0,5 per cent output growth in 2013 for the overall chemicals sector, excluding pharmaceuticals, is based on an optimistic assumption of modest growth in every quarter after a slowdown in the later part of 2012.

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