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Chemical Industry Europe's Chemical Industry Stagnates – Yet Employs More People

| Editor: Dominik Stephan

The production of chemicals in the European Union grew by only 0.2 percent during the first ten months of 2015 (compared to the previous year). Yet, despoite falling sales figures in the same time, declining consumer prices resulted in a trade surplus of € 30.4 billion and more jobs...

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European chemical output grew just 0.2 per cent during the first ten months of 2015 compared to the same period of 2014, says the European Chemicals association Cefic. Sales were down 3.1 per cent during January-September 2015, while producer prices fell 4.7 per cent year-on-year. As a consequence, the EU chemicals net trade surplus stood at €30.4 billion during the first eight months of 2015, up by €1.7 billion compared to the same period one year ago. Employment rose slightly during the third quarter 2015 to 1.17 million.

Stagnant Output Growth through October

Consumer chemicals output dropped significanty by about 2.4 percent in October 2015, while petrochemicals and polymers fell by 1.5 percent. The drop was partially offset by 3.0 per cent growth in output of specialty chemicals. Basic inorganics grew by 1.6 percent. Overall, EU chemicals output dropped – just 0.1 per cent in October 2015 year-on-year – and for the first ten months was up just 0.2 per cent compared to same period of 2014.

Chemical Prices Slide 4.7 Percent

Petrochemicals prices declined significantly by 14.6 percent in October 2015 compared to the same month of 2014. Polymers prices showed a decrease of 3.8 per cent during the same period. Specialty chemicals experienced a modest decline of 0.7 per cent. Consumer chemicals prices went up by 1.3 per cent in October 2015. All in all, producer prices in the EU chemicals sector declined 5.9 per cent in October 2015 (year-on-year). Last but not least, chemicals prices were down 4.7 per cent during the first ten months of 2015 compared to the same period one year ago.

Chemical Sales Down 3.1 Percent

Total EU chemical sales dropped 3.1 per cent during the first nine months of 2015 compared to the same period one year ago. Sales in September 2015 declined by 3.3 per cent compared to September 2014, reaching the same level of sales in January 2015.

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