LONDON (ICIS)--EU chemicals output in September 2013 expanded by 0.7% year on year on the back of a higher production of polymers, trade group Cefic said in its latest Chemicals Trends Report on Monday.
Petrochemicals output dropped by 11.2% in September 2013 compared with September 2012, while basic inorganics registered a 1.4% decline over the same period.
However, this drop in petrochemicals and basic inorganics was offset by an 8.3% year-on-year growth in polymers during September, a 3.7% rise in specialty chemicals and a 2.6% rise in consumer chemicals, Brussels-based Cefic said.
The rise in overall EU chemicals output in September could not prevent a production decrease of 0.7% for the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same period last year, it added.
“The September reading assured third-quarter growth entered positive territory for the second consecutive quarter, but contraction in the first quarter kept growth in the nine months to date in negative territory compared with the same period in 2012,” Cefic said.
“Output data point to the two successive quarters with positive growth, meaning the EU chemicals industry is technically out of recession following a fragile recovery trend since the second quarter,” Cefic added.
Also in the report, Cefic said EU monthly prices of chemicals in September were 1.8% lower compared with the same month last year, while producer prices for the first nine months of 2013 were at the same level as the same period in 2012.
“Nevertheless, EU chemical producer prices during the first nine months of 2013 remained 12.4 per cent higher than the pre-crisis full-year peak level reached in 2008,” Cefic said.
Meanwhile, the EU chemical industry confidence indicator (CCI), generated by Cefic, shows confidence in the chemical industry in November improved compared with October.
“Confidence in the chemicals industry in November is higher than the long-term average (2005-2012) for the third consecutive month. Capacity utilisation in the EU chemicals industry increased from 78.1% in second quarter 2013 to 79.3 % in the third,” Cefic said.
“Current overall order books for the coming months contributed to the positive change. Production expectations for the months ahead registered a downturn in November, however, compared to October of 2013,” it added.