European Union (EU) chemicals production in July grew by
0.8% compared with July 2010, according to the latest chemicals
trends report released by the European Chemical Industry Council
(Cefic). However, that figure continues a trend of
slower-than-expected growth, the group said.
Production moved back into positive territory in July after
output in June had moved slightly into negative territory. The
July production figure dragged down further year-to-date output
growth, which now stands at 3.0% for the first seven months of
the year, well below the 4.5% full-year 2011 forecast by the
trade group in late June.
Data showed a near double-digit, year-on-year price increase
in July, led by a 15.2% overall price increase in petrochemicals. For the first six
months of 2011, the EU chemical sector net trade surplus
reached 20.4 billion, off by 3.2 billion when
compared with the same period in 2010.
The July EU chemical production data show the pace of
growth stalling a bit, continuing the trend seen during an
unexpectedly moderate second quarter, Cefic chief
economist Moncef Hadhri said. After an impressive first
quarter, the sector appears to have downshifted, in line with
EU industrial growth. Despite slow growth in June, EU chemicals
production levels remain 19.4% higher as compared with the
December 2008 trough.
Chemical output up. EU chemicals output
rose in July 2011 compared with July 2010. The EU production
index for July was up 0.8% compared with July the year prior.
Petrochemicals output increased 1.4%
in July compared with the year prior, while basic inorganics
production rose by 5.1%. Year-on-year consumer chemicals
production rose by 5.9% in July; specialty chemicals and
polymers output fell by 2.2% and 0.8%, respectively.
Trade surplus. Trade data show a 20.4
billion trade surplus for the EU chemicals sector in the first
six months of 2011(Fig. 2), down 13.6% compared with the same
period in 2010. The EU-27 posted a 5.4 billion net trade
surplus with the NAFTA region from January to June and a
3.3 billion surplus with Asia, excluding Japan and China.
The EU sector ran a 1.3 billion net trade deficit with
China. The EU net trade surplus with non-EU Europe reached 6 billion.
Sales level trending higher. The June sales
level increased, remaining above the pre-crisis peak. June 2011
chemicals sales were 5.6% higher compared with June the year
prior. For the first six months of 2011, total sales were 16.9%
higher as compared to the same period in 2010. Sales values
during first half of 2011 were 5.0% higher compared to the peak
level reached in first half 2008.
Price increase for basic inorganics. Basic
inorganics prices pushed upward 14.4% year-on-year during July,
and plastics were up 9.1%. The price of consumer chemicals
continued to increase modestly, up 3.0% year-on-year for
Fig. 1. Trade data shows a
20.4 billion trade surplus for
the EU chemicals sector in the first six months
down 13.6% when compared with the same period in
Fig. 2. June 2011
chemical sales were 5.6% higher compared with June the