EU Chemicals Trend Positive Trend: Light at End of Tunnel for Europe's Chemical Industry?

Editor: Dominik Stephan

First timid signs of recovery for Europe's crisis ridden chemicals industry: Recent Cefic data indicate a a rise in production figures by 1.8 percent compared to the year prior. Despite this development, chemical output in the EU is still 6.9 percent lower than the pre-crisis levels of 2007...

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The EU chemical industry faces fragile recovery
The EU chemical industry faces fragile recovery
(Source: Cefic)

The EU chemicals net trade surplus stood at € 37.9 billion during September 2013 – a € 863 million improvement compared to 2012. Chemical prices in the European Union for October 2013 were 3.0 percent lower than in the year before. January-to-September 2013 sales were 3.7 percent below the first nine months of 2012. The EU chemicals confidence indicator (CCI) improved in November 2013 compared to October 2013. Capacity utilisation in the EU chemical industry increased from 78.1 percent in the second quarter of 2013 to 79.3 percent in the third.

The Achilles Heel: Production Dragged Down by Petrochemicals

Petrochemicals output dropped by 4.9 percent in October 2013 compared with October 2012. The steep drop in petrochemicals was partially offset by strong growth in polymers, up 7.1 percent in October year on year. Output of specialty chemicals expanded by 2.7 percent and consumer chemicals grew by 1.4 percent. Basic inorganics registered 0.2 percent growth during the same period.

EU chemicals production decreased 0.6 percent for the first ten months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. The recovery in the EU chemical industry remains fragile since pulling out of recession in second quarter 2013.

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