Eurozone chems output in August rises, overall industry down 1.6%

Author: Jonathan Lopez


MADRID (ICIS)--Chemicals output in the eurozone rose by 1.1% in August, month on month, while overall industrial production fell 1.6%, statistical body Eurostat said on Wednesday.

Among the 19-country currency union largest economies, only France posted a fall in chemicals output in August, down more than 2%.

Outside the eurozone but within the 27-country EU, Poland, the largest chemicals producer in east Europe, posted a rise of more than 5% in chemicals output, compared with July.

In July, chemicals output fell while overall industrial production rose.

Chemicals output (% change) August July June May April
Eurozone 1.1 -0.3 -1.4 1.3 -0.4
Germany 2.3 -0.3 -4.7 3.0 0.7
France -2.1 -0.9 3.3 1.1 -4.0
Italy 3.0 0.9 -4.4 -0.2 -0.5
Spain 1.2 -1.9 2.6 -3.3 -0.3
EU 1.1 0.0 -0.9 1.0 -0.8
Poland 5.5 3.5 1.5 -0.2 -2.4

Year on year, the eurozone’s chemicals output stood 6.8% higher in August.

During the third quarter of 2020, most European countries were emerging from lockdowns to contain the pandemic that crippled economic activity.

In the EU, chemicals output was 7.3% higher in August, year on year.

The fall of 1.6% in the eurozone industrial production in August, compared with July, nearly matched the fall in the wider EU, down 1.5%.

“In the EU, production of capital goods fell by 4.0%, durable consumer goods by 2.9% and intermediate goods by 1.4%, while production of energy remained stable and non-durable consumer goods rose by 0.3%,” said Eurostat.

Analysts at Oxford Economics noted how Germany’s industrial production fell by more than 4% in August, due in part to weak output from the automotive industry.

The powerful German automotive industry has been one of the most affected sectors by global supply chain shortages, in its case the long-running shortage of semiconductors.

“Car manufacturers [are] often sitting on a large stock of semi-finished vehicles waiting for components and having to resort to lower production or temporary plant shutdowns," said the analysts.

"Encouragingly, latest data suggest that the supply of microchips is finally turning a corner and we expect it to gradually ease over the coming quarters.”

Oxford Economics added that, overall, the eurozone’s industry could have posted a contraction in the third quarter, although it will be “gradually gathering pace again” from the fourth quarter onward as supply-chain disruptions start to fade.

Year on year, industrial output in the eurozone rose in August by 5.1% in the eurozone, and by 5.3% in the EU.