Production of chemicals in the European Union rose by 2.4% through April 2017 compared with the corresponding period in 2016, to reach the highest level for eight years, according to the latest Cefic Chemical Trends Report. Output rose in most subsectors, led by plastics (up 8% year over year, YOY); dyes and pigments (3.7%); basic inorganics (3.3%); and cosmetics (1.9%). Production of specialty chemicals was muted, rising only 0.5% YOY.
The upward trend of prices accelerated at the beginning of the year and producer prices were above that of the previous year for the first time in four years. The persistent upward trend of producer prices, backed by a higher production volume, resulted in a clear rise in sale, Cefic says. The chemical business in the EU market is being driven by the positive development of industrial demand and construction, according to the trade association.
Overall EU chemical sales climbed by €9.5 billion ($10.9 billion) during first-quarter 2017 to reach a value of €131.7 billion, versus €122.2 billion through March 2016, or 7.8% YOY. Exports accounted for 40% of this additional sales revenue, according to Cefic. Domestic consumption of chemicals went up by 6.2% YOY, generating an additional value of €7.0 billion.
Domestic sales of chemicals in the European Union reached €92 billion during the first quarter of 2017, an increase of €5.6 billion, or 6.5% YOY. Exports of chemicals from the European Union reached a value of €39.7 billion during the first quarter of 2017, a rise of €3.9 billion compared with the first quarter of 2016, or 10.8% YOY. EU chemical imports rose by 5.2% YOY to reach €27.4 billion during the first quarter of this year.
The EU chemical trade surplus jumped by 26.8% during the first three months of 2017 to reach €12.3 billion, compared with €9.7 billion during the year-ago period. Export growth far outstripped import growth through March 2017, according to Cefic.
By Michael Ravenscroft
Source: Chemical Week
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