Brussels – Increasing demand from the automotive industry and stabilisation in construction sector markets will help European chemicals output to grow by 2.0 percent this year, Cefic (the European Chemical Industry Council) said 20 June.
Production growth, forecasts Cefic, should to continue in 2015, though the pace is likely to slow to 1.5 percent as restocking tails off.
The return to growth follows a slight dip in output during 2013, as the industry wrestled with the second slowdown of Europe’s double-dip recession.
After a slump by more than 20 percent, Europe’s production of chemicals has yet to match the peak achieved in 2008, according to the industry group’s latest assessment.
“We now expect a long-awaited return to growth in output by the European chemical industry this year,” said Kurt Bock, Cefic president.
“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,” he added.
According to Cefic’s bi-annual industry forecast, chemical industry output contracted by 0.2 percent in 2013, slightly less than the 0.5 percent expected.
The outlook for 2014 has also improved: growth in 2014 is now expected to reach 2.0 percent, excluding pharmaceuticals.
Looking at the wider economy, Cefic noted that “European confidence indicators are positive, and purchasing managers’ expectations suggest that Europe’s industrial recovery is broadening out.”
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