CEFIC says European Chemical Business Flat
European chemical production in the first quarter of 2016 was almost on the level of the 2015 quarter, as no significant changes in the business climate were seen, the European Chemistry Council, CEFIC, said in its first quarterly report of the year. For the first two months, CEFIC said sales receded by 2.2% in the year’s first two months, Capacity utilization remained unchanged.
CEFIC pointed to “significant” output growth in the first three months for dyes and pigments (up 5%), polymers (up 4%), perfumes and toiletries (up 2.9%) and synthetic rubber (up 2.1%). In some industry segments, progress lagged. Paints and coatings saw improvement of only 1.3%, and petrochemicals grew by a scant 0.2%. In the negative column, inorganics output dropped 0.8%, soaps and detergents lost 1.3%.
Selling prices for chemicals fell 3.3%, averaged over the first quarter, with petrochemicals prices down 8% and polymer prices down 1.5%. Prices for specialty chemicals were flat, while prices of consumer chemicals fell back 0.2%.
According to CEFIC, chemical producers’ expect a slight deterioration of business over the next six months. The EU chemical industry confidence indicator shows no sign of improvement in this time frame, it said, remaining slightly below the long-term average.