Chemical Industry India India's Chemical Industry Still Largely Dependent on Imports

Editor: Dominik Stephan

The big growth rates of the pre–crisis boom years are a thing of the past: Although India's chemical industry is on the way back to moderate growths, the country still depends on the import of chemical goods in large scales. Its strong pharmaceutical industry, nevertheless, is about to take a leading role on the international generics market.

Despite moderate growth, the Indian chemical industry still is largely import dependent. (Picture: PROCESS/Source: Rockwell)
Despite moderate growth, the Indian chemical industry still is largely import dependent. (Picture: PROCESS/Source: Rockwell)

Despite grows within its industry, India remains a net importer of chemicals: In 2010, the country's commercial balance sheet for chemicals booked an excess of imports worth € 7 billion in total, a recent report of the German industrial association VCI (Verband der Chemischen Industrie) showed. Especially anorganics and polymers have shown a distinctively negative trade balance of Minus € 7.7 billion and Minus € 3 billion respectively. Industry experts see these import excesses as a result of the country's fast growing demand for basic feedstock and chemical products that the domestic production can't keep up with.

India is currently affected by slowing economical growth that affects the industrial sector in particular: Due to global economical insecurities, a domestic inflation and high prices for raw materials and comestible goods the recent economic data indicate a 5 percent growth for the last quarter of 2011 – not much compared with the solid two digit growth rates of the boom years.


Shrinking Processes Stopped, Yet Growth Rates Remain Small

The chemical industry seems to have overcome a painful shrinking process in the wake of the global economy crisis, but the record growths of the past remain unachieved: Growing by moderate 2 percent average per year since 2009, the chemical branch is especially affected by production cuts of its industrial customers like the automotive or construction industry.

Despite these backlashes, India's chemical market with a turnover volume € 76 billion is the eighth largest in the world and surpasses both the UK and Italy, profiting especially from its position among Asia's emerging economies.

Pharmaceutical Industry Profits From Boom In Generics

India's pharmaceutical industry has transformed to one of the largest and most efficient globally– Responsible for this development are especially the large Indian producers of generic drugs like Ranbaxy, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Piramal, Cipla or Wockhardt, that account for 20 percent of the global generics market.