EU chemicals output down 1.6% in January – Cefic

08 April 2013 13:39  [Source: ICIS news]

ChemicalLONDON (ICIS)--EU chemicals production fell 1.6% year on year in January, with the decline following three consecutive months of expansion, trade group Cefic said in its Chemicals Trends Report on Monday.

The chemicals production index for January was dragged down by petrochemicals, which fell 3.6% year on year during the month, Cefic added.

The decline was also caused by polymers, which were down 1.3%, but consumer chemicals output and basic organics production showed improvements, rising 1%, and 0.4%, respectively, according to the report.

Specialty chemicals production was down just 0.6%, it added.

Releasing its latest production index, with the heading “The long road back to normal: A positive wind is needed over the coming years”, Cefic said the fourth quarter of 2012 stood at 99.2, compared with the peak of 108.7 in the first quarter of 2008 and the trough of 84.6 in the first quarter of 2009.

Looking at chemical prices in the EU, the Chemical Trends Report said that in January prices climbed 2.2% year on year, with petrochemicals prices spiking 5.5%, partly thanks to recent oil price increases.

Trade data available through December 2012 showed a €49.6bn ($64.4bn) year-to-date EU chemicals net trade surplus with other markets, up €9bn compared with the same 12-month period in the previous year, Cefic added.

The EU net trade surplus with non-EU Europe, which includes Russia and Turkey, contributed significantly to the jump in the January-to-December overall surplus, reaching €15.2bn, a 23% rise from 2011, it added. 

Total 2012 chemicals sales were 1.0% lower compared with 2011, but EU chemicals sales during 2012 were 5.4 % higher than the pre-crisis, full-year peak level seen in 2008, Cefic said.

“Overall chemicals industry confidence indicators deteriorated slightly in March, mainly due to lower order-book assessments and a worsening in the assessment of production expectations for the coming months,” the trade group also noted.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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