08 October 2012 12:21 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--EU chemicals production fell by 2.2% year on year in July, with basic inorganics the only sector to avoid a slump, trade association Cefic said on Monday.
Representing the 11th consecutive month of year-on-year production declines, the data indicates that EU chemicals production remains 5.9% below the industry’s 2007 peak, Cefic said.
EU chemicals production was down 2.4% for the first seven months of the year compared with the same period of 2011.
Output levels were down across all chemical sectors apart from basic inorganics, which saw a production increase of 0.9% compared with July 2011.
The steepest decline was in the polymers sector, which saw a 5.8% drop in production for the month compared with July 2011. Petrochemicals and specialty chemicals production fell by 2.7% and 0.7% respectively.
Output for consumer chemicals, which had been the only chemicals sector other than basic inorganics to register a production increase the previous month, slumped 1.6%.
EU chemicals prices climbed 1% year on year during the month, driven by an increase in the price of basic inorganics, but fell 1% compared with the previous month. Data for the year so far indicates that chemicals prices have risen by 3% in the first seven months of the year compared with the corresponding period in 2011, Cefic said.
Despite the weak market environment, confidence in the EU chemicals industry increased last month for the first time since April, according to EU data cited by Cefic. This is in line with a general halt to falling confidence levels for the EU manufacturing sector as a whole, the association said.
The EU chemicals net trade surplus increased by €5.2bn ($6.75bn) during the first six months of the year, to reach €24.5bn.
($1 = €0.77)
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