Europe to raise annual chemical output in 2014

European chemicals output is expected to grow by 2.0% this year, driven by rising demand from customer industries, particularly car-makers, and some stabilization in the construction industry.

These findings were issued Friday in a new report from Cefic, known as the European Chemical Industry Council.

Production growth is expected to continue in 2015, though the pace is likely to slow to 1.5% as restocking tails off. The return to growth follows a modest fall in output during 2013 as the industry wrestled with the second slowdown of Europe’s double-dip recession. 

After a 22% slump by more than 20%, Europe’s production of chemicals has yet to match the peak achieved in 2008.

“We now expect a long-awaited return to growth in output by the European chemical industry this year," said Cefic president Kurt Bock. "However, the recovery is volatile and the pace of expansion is being held back by high energy prices, which put European producers at a severe disadvantage compared to those in North America and the Middle East who benefit in particular from cheaper gas.”

In its bi-annual industry forecast, Cefic said that chemical industry output contracted by 0.2% in 2013, slightly less than the 0.5% expected.  The outlook for 2014 has also improved: growth in 2014 is now expected to reach 2.0%, excluding pharmaceuticals.

Looking at the wider economy, European confidence indicators are positive, and purchasing managers’ expectations suggest that Europe’s industrial recovery is broadening out.

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