Chemicals Output Drops in May

European Chemical Output Drops After Eight–Months Growth Period

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January to April 2014 Sales Flat, 2.0 % Higher than the Pre-Crisis Level

Total EU chemicals sales during the first four months of 2014 were 0.4 per cent higher than the same period last year, just 2.0 per cent higher than the pre-crisis, full-year peak reached in 2008. April sales grew 1.3 per cent compared to the comparable month the year prior.

Employment Rose for the Second Consecutive Quarter

The level of chemical industry employment rose for six straight months from fourth quarter 2013 to first quarter 2014. The modest hiring uptick appears to confirm a break from the crisis-induced job losses that began in 2009. Country data show employment levels up in Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom since October 2013 through March 2014. Data show sector employment levelling off since first quarter 2010, whilst payroll levels in first quarter 2014 are nearly 10 per cent below the peak level reached in third quarter 2007. The sector directly employed 1.15 million people in 2013, 1.0 per cent less than in 2012.

Chemicals Trade Surplus Down by €1.5 Billion through April

The €14.8 billion chemicals net trade balance reached during the first four months of the year 2014 was led by a €4.0 billion positive trade balance with non-EU countries in Europe, which includes Russia. That surplus declined, however, by €1.0 billion in January-April 2014 compared with the same period in 2013. The EU chemicals trade surplus with Asia – excluding Japan and China – grew slightly, up €0.3 billion. The EU net chemicals trade surplus with China increased slightly from €0.39 billion to €0.58 billion. The United States further closed its trade deficit with the European Union, narrowing the gap by €0.6 billion to €2.0 billion during the four-month period.