London – Company members of the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) have reported a strong start to 2016 and are optimistic about the future, the organisation representing UK chemical and pharmaceutical makers has announced.
In its latest quarterly business survey, 95 percent of CIA member companies said sales volumes had remained at previous levels or increased, while 90 percent reported exports running at previous levels or as having increased.
CIA members were similarly upbeat regarding investment: 87 percent said capital expenditure and R&D spending had remained at previous levels or increased.
Looking to the year ahead, 88 percent of companies expected to maintain or grow sales performance, 95 percent to maintain or grow exports, 87 percent to maintain or grow R&D spending and 85 percent to maintain or grow capital expenditure.
Asked to identify business threats, higher raw material and energy costs topped the CIA members’ list. Competition from China, shrinking markets, increasing costs of legislative compliance and uncertainty over the UK’s membership of the EU were also highlighted.
But despite UK official data showing low growth, poor manufacturing outlook and a trade deficit, CIA chief executive Elliot said the chemical and pharmaceutical sector was successfully meeting the needs of customers in the UK and across the globe”.
“We would never be complacent, but our member companies appear to be bucking the [general economic] trend,” said Elliott. “The strong start to 2016 and the positive feelings about the year ahead are encouraging for our sector and for the UK economy.”