EU chemical industry margins steady in January - analysts

20 March 2012 11:05  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--EU chemical industry margins held steady in January while in the US the sector continued its gross margin expansion in February, global analysts Bernstein Research said on Tuesday.

“This difference in performance highlights the stronger US economy and the low-cost gas advantage,” Bernstein said.  

The analysts added that producer price increases in both regions were less than cost inflation until the onset of the macroeconomic crisis when prices started to rise.  

“The cost decline during the crisis enabled them to catch up. Following the crisis, Europe has maintained margins through steady price increases,” it said.

Bernstein said stronger cost inflation in the US temporarily pinched margins until mid-2011.

“Since then, margins have expanded again as pricing has continued to climb while costs have started to recede,” it added.

In February, US paints and coatings saw a 4% month-on-month price increase and a 9% year-on-year rise.

In the EU, paints and coatings saw prices increase in January by 1% month on month and by 6% year on year.

Bernstein said European Industrial gases prices improved in January, up 1.7% month on month and 3.7% year on year.

However, prices in the US in February declined by 1% month on month and 4% year on year.

Crop protection chemicals saw a strong price rise in the US in February, up 1% month on month and 4% year on year, while in Europe they were flat month on month and up slightly by 0.8% year on year.

Bernstein added that in the US petrochemicals prices increased strongly by 10% month on month in February, following two months of declining pricing.

By: Leigh Stringer
+44 208 652 3214

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