At the mid-year point, its interesting to look at the performance of the total chemical industry, including pharmaceuticals.
The chart, from the American Chemistry Council, shows global demand has now recovered to 2008 levels. Pharma is more recession-proof than other parts of the industry, as people still become ill and need treatment.
In terms of Regions, N America remains the weakest performer:
• N America was up 5% in May versus 2009, with the ACC noting that "activity in the US softened". Weakness was centred on petchems, organic intermediates and polymers.
• W Europe was up 12%, and growth seems to be peaking.
• Asia was up 12%, with earlier sharp gains now slowing.
• Middle East was up 13%, maintaining its performance as new plants come online.
• CEE was up 20%, as it benefits from the W European recovery.
• Latin America was also up 14%, helped by demand from China.