LONDON (ICIS)--Chemicals exports from EU countries to the rest of the world fell in January, in line with overall trade in goods which took a hit from renewed measures to slow down the spread of the pandemic, said Eurostat on Thursday.
Imports of chemicals into the EU took a hit of 16.5%, although the overall volumes of imports were around half of those in exports.
Eurostat also confirmed how the UK’s withdrawal from the EU’s Single Market on 1 January affected trade in goods between the two areas, in line with figures published by the UK’s national statistics body earlier this week.
The EU has traditionally been a net exporter of chemicals, with chemicals output in several countries within the bloc – notably Germany – being key in the global chemicals trade.
Several EU countries, including Germany or France, were in January under lockdown measures as the pandemic was spreading again; those lockdown measures remain in place, while as of this week Italy has also gone into stricter measures.
Chemicals output also took a hit in January across the 27-country, although overall industrial output managed to keep in the positive, said Eurostat earlier in March.
The fall in chemicals exports was the smallest among chemicals-intensive manufacturing sectors like machinery and vehicles production, which fell more than 12%.
The trade surplus for the EU's chemicals industry widened in January, to €17.1bn, as imports fell by a larger percentage than exports.
|EU international trade in goods (in €/bn)||Exports Jan 2021||Exports Jan 2020||Change||Imports Jan 2021||Imports Jan 2020||Change|
|Machinery and vehicles||63.5||55.6||-12.4%||54.2||47.8||-11.8%|
|Other manufactured goods||37.4||32.9||-12.0%||42.3||36.0||-14.9%|
|Total manufactured goods||136.3||122.8||-9.9%||117.1||101.0||-13.7%|
|Total EU (includes primary goods)||166.2||148.3||-10.8%||168.4||139.9||-16.9%|
Eurostat also confirmed the sharp fall in UK-EU trade in goods as the Brexit trade deal kicked off on 1 January, mirroring statistics published by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The sharp falls, however, should be taking with a pinch of salt, according to analysts, as one month would not be representative, especially as previous stocking and global logistics woes are taken into consideration.