Europe chemicals prices continue monthly gains in October, but annual declines more substantial

Morgan Condon

07-Dec-2023

LONDON (ICIS)–European chemicals prices generally rose by more than general producer prices in October, according to the latest data from EU statistical agency Eurostat.

This continued the trend from the previous month, as energy prices have regained momentum, with heating demand increasing in line with the colder temperatures in Europe.

The following table shows the percentage change in chemical producer prices compared with the previous month:

Region/Country October 2023 September 2023 August 2023
EU 0.7 0.9 -0.3
Eurozone 0.8 0.7 -0.2
Germany 0.0 0.3 -0.9
France 0.5 0.7 0.6
Spain 0.5 0.7 0.2
Italy -0.1 -0.2 0.8
The Netherlands 1.5 1.9 0.6
Poland -0.1 2.0 -1.1

Chemicals demand in Europe has been poor for much of 2023, and the usual uptick following a summer break has been significantly more muted than usual.

Many producers have slowed or stopped production to cope with high input costs, as they struggle to compete with lower-priced imports from other regions.

Overall industrial producer prices rose by 0.2% in October compared with the previous month in the EU and eurozone.

In both regions, this was driven by gains in the energy sector, as prices increased by 1.0% in the eurozone and 0.6% in the EU, as prices for other segments remained relatively stable.

Excluding the energy sector, industrial pricing fell by 0.2% in both the eurozone and EU.

Compared with the previous year, prices for both the chemicals sector and wider industry continued to fall at a more dramatic speed.

The rate of decline for key producers largely softened in the three-month period leading to October, but still remained significantly sharper than the monthly movements.

The following table shows the percentage change in chemicals producer prices compared with those for the previous year:

Region/Country October 2023 September 2023 August 2023
EU -10.5 -11.2 -12.0
Eurozone -10.3 -11.2 -11.9
Germany -9.0 -9.1 -9.0
France -13.8 -14.7 -14.4
Spain -8.6 -9.4 -11.4
Italy -8.5 -8.1 -6.7
The Netherlands -16.0 -17.5 -19.8
Poland -17.6 -18.2 -17.6

Chemicals prices fell more substantially than overall industrial producer prices, which dropped by 9.4% in the eurozone and by 8.7% in the EU year on year.

The rate of decline was much softer than in the energy sector, however, where prices plummeted by 25.0% in the eurozone and by 22.7% in the wider EU versus October 2022.

Prices of intermediate goods fell by 5.3% in each region, offsetting gains in other segments and resulting in industrial prices excluding energy falling by 0.2% and by 0.3% in the EU and eurozone, respectively.

Front page picture shows a chemical factory on the River Rhine, Mannheim, Germany (image credit: G M Therin-Weise/imageBROKER/Shutterstock)

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