ERJ staff report (PR)
Brussels, July 22, 2014 – European chemicals output fell in May 2014 after eight consecutive months of expansion, according to the latest Cefic Chemicals Trends Report.
And, while output expanded by 1.8 percent in the first five months of 2014 on a year-on-year basis. EU chemicals prices were lower during this period, European chemical industry association added.
EU chemicals net exports reached €14.8 billion for the first four months of 2014, but the surplus level narrowed as compared with the year prior, noted Cefic. On a brighter note, employment in the sector grew in first quarter 2014, the second consecutive quarter of expansion.
“Upticks in chemicals output and employment are welcome news, but signs point to the sector losing its footing in the global market. EU policy can help boost our competitiveness, especially by addressing the energy cost gap,” said Hubert Mandery, Cefic’s director general.
All chemicals sub-sector output fell in May, while petrochemicals output fell 4.5 per cent during the first five months of 2014 compared to the same period a year ago.
The decline in petrochemicals was partially offset by a 4.6-percent increase in output of speciality chemicals and 2.3-percent growth in polymers. Basic inorganics grew by 2.0 percent year-on-year and consumer chemicals output increased by 1.6 percent.
Prices were down 0.1 per cent during the January-May 2014 period compared to the last five months of 2013. EU chemicals prices, commented Cefic, “have been relatively stable in early 2014, appearing to follow a flat trend on a month-on-month basis.”