German Chemical Business Improves Slightly in Q1

18.05.2015 -

The German chemical and pharmaceutical industries "returned to a moderate growth path" in the first three months of 2015, the industry association Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI) says in its quarterly report.

With a rise of 1.9%, production made gains against the final quarter of 2014, thanks to a stabilizing global economy and the economic recovery in Europe. However, output hovered 0.2% below the 2014 quarterly level. Capacity utilization rates improved slightly to 84.1%.

Industry-wide sales declined 1.3% year-on-year to €46 billion, reflecting a 2.7% setback in selling prices, as VCI said chemical producers had to pass on their cost savings from raw material price declines.

Employment levels held steady across the industry.

For full year 2015, the industry association is forecasting a 1.5% rise in chemical production. As selling prices are expected to drop by 2%, sales are seen as easing off by 0.5% to €189.9 billion.

Commenting on the outlook, VCI president Marijn Dekkers said the current low oil price, the weak euro and favorable interest rates will all benefit a further economic recovery in Germany and Europe. However, he said the dynamics of growth will be weaker.