Global chemical production ends 2009 at Q4 2006 level

ACC chem dataMar10.png The good news is that global chemical production (the blue diamond line) grew during H2 2009. At the end of H1 2009, it had been equal to the level at the start of 2006. The bad news is that as the chart shows (based on data kindly supplied by Kevin Swift at the American Chemistry Council), it was only back to the level seen at the end of 2006.

At its peak in Q2/Q3 2008, production had been 9.5% above the Q1 2007 level. But at the end of December 2009, it was only 3.5% above this level. So the world essentially lost 6% growth over the interim period. And it seems unlikely that this will be recovered quickly, given the deleveraging underway by consumers and governments.

Different regions continue to perform at different rates:

N America (red line) was the weakest performer, in spite of its Asian exports, with volume at 89.5% of the Q1 2007 level.
• The Middle East (brown) continued to run hard on the basis of its advantaged feedstocks, and its volume was up 20.7% versus Q1 2007.
Asia (blue) recovered strongly following China’s stimulus programme, and was up 18.1%.
W Europe (purple) also recovered due to stimulus programmes, and production was up 4.1%.
Latin America (green) also recovered, and was up 2%.
Central Europe (light blue) remained weak, with volume at 93.4% of the 2007 level.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. 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.

, , , ,

2 Responses to Global chemical production ends 2009 at Q4 2006 level

  1. Andy Furlong 9 March, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    4.1% growth in Europe is not reflected in the UK economy according to ONS figures published today. What’s the story Paul?

  2. Paul Hodges 9 March, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    Andy Good question! As I mentioned in the post, my guess is that Europe’s volume increase last year was mainly due to the various stimulus programmes. These were of two types – firstly the auto scrappage ones, which meant Europe became the largest regional market in the world (the post of 16 Feb has the details). Secondly, exports benefited from China’s massive stimulus programmes. From a UK perspective, both sources of additional demand really passed us by as (a) the UK scrappage programme was very late in the year, and rather small, whilst (b) most exports to China probably went from the Med and the Rotterdam region for logistic reasons, rather than the UK. That’s my 2c, as they say – I’d welcome other inputs. Paul

Leave a Reply