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Europe 2013 chems export surplus on track to beat 2012

ICIS News : 4-Oct-13 14:18

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MUNICH (ICIS)--Europe’s chemical export surplus this year is on track to beat the record €49bn ($67bn) level recorded in 2012, trade body European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) said on Friday.

EU net chemical exports for the first six months of the year are up 5% compared to the same period in 2012, Cefic said, with the surplus buoyed by a faster drop in imports compared to flat export growth.

Cefic director general Hubert Mandery added that the EU chemicals export surplus had been €25.4bn in the first half of 2013

However, Bock stated that the competitiveness of the region’s chemicals industry remains under threat from the shale gas boom in North America, and higher growth levels in developing markets.

EU outputs remain below pre-crisis levels, Cefic added, stating that under 20% of global chemicals sales are attributable to the EU, compared to almost 30% a decade ago.

Speaking at Cefic’s general assembly in Munich, Germany, council president Kurt Bock called for EU policymakers to focus on developing an industrial policy that fosters innovation, and for a departure from unilateral climate policies.

He said, “Europe has a great track record of high-value added chemistry, so it is crucial to have policies that enable us to keep our world-class position. We see great potential in the EU-US trade and investment agreement.

Mandery added that Cefic is maintaining its forecast that the chemicals sector will return to growth in 2014, reiterating the council’s June 2013 prediction that output will expand by 1.5% next year.

He added that a harmonised approach to energy policy in the region is a significant driver in helping the chemicals industry to remain competitive.

“How can Europe stay in the game?  Consistent energy and industrial policy would help. Unnecessary regulatory burden[s] imposed on our sector should be kept in check,” he said.

($1 = €0.73)

By Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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