The above chart, from Moncef Hadhri's excellent monthly report from CEFIC (the European chemical industry association) provides an interesting snapshot of the state of the EU chemical industry.
On the positive side, it shows that recovery from the destocking period was well underway in June (the latest data available). Volume (green line), had risen 10% from November's low of 82. And versus June 2008, volume is now down 'only' 12.4%, versus November's 25% decline.
But on the negative side, EU volume is now down 18% versus the all-time peak of 110 seen at the end of 2007. Volume is also 10% below 2005's average level of 100. This figure will clearly improve as restocking continues down the chain. But even if we get back to the 100 level, this will still mean the industry has effectively 'lost' 3 - 4 years of growth.