Global chemical output returns to growth

Prod Jan10.jpgThe above chart, based on data from the excellent weekly American Chemistry Council report, highlights the changes in chemical production over the past year.

November saw world production (black line) finally turn positive again versus the previous 12 months, for the first time since August 2008. For an industry used to steady growth in line with GDP, the past 15 months have been traumatic. And, of course, as the ACC note, total production in 2009 seems likely to be down 3.8% versus 2008.

The strength of China’s recovery is also highlighted in the chart, with Asia Pacific output (dotted brown line) up 8% versus November 2008. N America (blue) and W Europe (green) also saw production rebound, although at a slower 3% rate. This was in line with the Middle East’s performance (purple), although the latter was more impressive as it grew steadily till May 2009, before entering a shallow downturn.

Still showing negative annual growth are Latin America (pink), down 4%, and Central/Eastern Europe (light blue), down 9%. This highlights how those with small domestic regional markets have been worst affected by the overall fall in demand. Hopefully, though, these regions will also soon start to see a return to annual growth during 2010.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. He also serves as a Global Expert for the World Economic Forum. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry and the global economy over the next 12 – 18 months. It looks behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in critical areas such as oil prices, China and Emerging Markets, currencies, autos, housing, economic growth and the environment. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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2 Responses to Global chemical output returns to growth

  1. Hemant Rajan Naidu 8 February, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    Dear Paul,

    Alongwith the % annual change trend, won’t it be a good idea to also have the absolute production figures in the same chart. That way we can also compare the production levels accross the time period and see where it lies wrt the 2008 – 2009 period.

    Hemant Rajan Naidu.

  2. Paul Hodges 8 February, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    Dear Hemant

    Many thanks for your comment.

    I agree with you that this is also a useful trend to follow, and I intend to feature this next month, when the end-year figures should hopefully avaiable.

    In the meantime, the chart showing the position at the end of H1 2009 is available as the 1 October 2009 post.


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