Eurozone chemicals output rises 1.6% in November

Author: Jonathan Lopez

2021/01/13

LONDON (ICIS)--Chemicals output in the 19-country eurozone rose by 1.6% in November, month on month, the EU's statistical office Eurostat said on Wednesday, with growth slowing after a resurgence of the coronavirus.

All the major chemical producing countries posted lower growth in chemicals output during November.

In the wider 27-country EU, chemicals output rose by 1.5%.

In November, some European countries reimposed lockdown measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, and the restrictions have become stricter in December and January.

The measures, however, have mostly affected the services sector and industry across the eurozone has fared better this time than in the first wave of lockdowns which were imposed in the second quarter of 2020.

Chemicals output (% change) November October September August July
Eurozone 1.6 3.0 2.4 2.5 1.6
Germany 0.7 5.2 2.4 1.3 3.5
France 1.6 7.7 6.7 0.3 -1.0
Italy N/D 1.5 -1.6 5.0 3.0
Spain 1.3 0.2 4.6 -0.4 3.0
Netherlands 1.6 4.7 1.6 0.1 3.9
EU 1.5 2.9 2.5 2.1 1.9
Poland -0.6 3.0 3.2 -2.0 4.3

 Eurostat did not provide year-on-year data for chemicals production.

NEAR PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS
Growth in chemicals output was lower than the industrial sector as a whole -eurozone industrial production rose 2.5% month on month in November, and increased 2.3% in the EU.

Compared with November 2019, however, output remained lower – by 0.6% in the eurozone and by 0.4% in the EU.

The November increase, however, means that industrial output in both the EU and the eurozone is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels last seen in February, and before the coronavirus crisis first hit Europe in March.

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INDUSTRY AVOIDS PAIN
According to Oxford Economics, the latest industrial output data confirms the resilience of the eurozone's manufacturing sector following a resurgence of the pandemic.

Together with manufacturing PMI indices in December, industrial output is expected to expand in the fourth quarter, the economic forecaster said.

"Today’s [Wednesday] readings confirm that the eurozone industrial sector remained fairly resilient throughout the lockdown. Compared to the spring’s lockdowns, non-essential industrial firms remain open, and further closures are unlikely," said Oxford Economics.

"Overall, the current set of restrictions is more targeted, focusing on more on contact-intensive services, so we expect production to expand slightly in Q4 2020 and during the first months of 2021."