Spain chemicals sales up 18% in 2022 to €91bn but output nearly flat – FEIQUE
MADRID (ICIS)–Revenue from Spanish chemicals sales is expected to rise 17.6% in 2022, year on year, to €90.8bn on the back of higher selling prices but output will be almost flat, with an uptick of just 0.2%, the country’s chemicals trade group FEIQUE said on Thursday.
The trade group said Spanish chemicals – including the pharmaceutical industry – would be able to “stave off” recession in 2022 but added uncertainty in 2023 will be the predominant feature for the industry unless “urgent measures” to help energy-intensive sectors cope with high costs are passed.
Output growth was healthy during the first half of 2022, said FEIQUE, but it “collapsed” in the second half as companies straggled to manage their input costs as energy prices rocketed.
This factor, said FEIQUE, affected mostly base chemicals, more directly affected by energy costs due to their energy intensity. In this sub-sector, production has decreased in 2022 up to six percentage points, said FEIQUE.
“We have a great challenge before us, which began in 2021 due to the constant increase in the price of gas and accelerated after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” said Teresa Rasero, the head of Air Liquide in Iberia and appointed FEIQUE’s president earlier on Thursday.
“This circumstance continues to cause not only exorbitant energy prices but also risks of shortages in multiple raw materials that are found in the main value chains of the economy.”
Rasero added that the EU and the Spanish cabinet should agree on measures to limit the price of natural gas, either by setting a maximum purchase price, through joint purchasing, or by direct interventions in the European natural gas prices benchmark, the TTF.
For chemicals, the price cap on natural gas should also apply the chemicals sectors which use natural gas as a feedstock for production, and not only for energy production.
“This input [natural gas] is used in various processes for the manufacture of numerous essential products such as ammonia, ethylene, or methanol, and necessary, in turn, to produce fertilizers, agri-food CO2 [carbon dioxide], adblue [diesel exhaust fluid], synthetic fabrics, paints, insulation, detergents, polymers, and automotive components or lubricants, among others,” said FEIQUE.
“Its use is notable in the value chain of agriculture, transport, hygiene, or food, as well as in other areas of application, including multiple intermediate products on which the activity of many economic sectors depends.”
Out of the nearly €91bn in chemicals sales, close to €60bn of them were destined for export, said FEIQUE.
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