19 January 2009 17:31 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--EU chemicals activity declined in 2008 for the first time since 2003, dropping 0.8% in the first 10 months of the year, chemicals trade federation Cefic said on Monday.
The decline in output, excluding pharmaceuticals, was 6.3% year-on-year in October, Cefic added in a monthly report, noting that fourth quarter expectations were poor. The October comparisons were made with the most recently available data.
The overall chemicals confidence indicator for the EU declined by 9.8 points in December and has now reached its lowest level since January 1991.
Key customer industries such as construction, automotive, and machinery and equipment, are in a recession and therefore generating less demand for chemicals, the trade group said.
Chemicals output declined in 2008 after a modest start in the first quarter with the downturn accelerating from Q3. Excepctations for the fourth quarter are even more depressed, indicating a sharp drop in chemicals production for most EU countries, Cefic said,.
"EU chemical industry activity is experiencing a considerable drop in orders in most EU countries, or even cancellation of previously confirmed orders,” it added.
Cefic forecast in November that EU chemicals output, excluding pharmaceuticals, would fall 1.3% in 2009 following a 0.6% decline in 2008.
EU petrochemicals production was expected to drop 1.5% in 2009 and production of basic inorganics fall by 0.8%. Polymers output was forecast to fall 2.3% and speciality chemicals output to be down 1.2%.
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