Brussels – Growth in the EU chemicals sector is "losing momentum," said Cefic, as it reported production up 1.9% from January to March compared to the same period of 2017,
The industry group's analysis showed that the production index (2015 = 100) for the EU chemicals sector dropped from 104.2 points in Q4-2017 to 102.7 points in Q1-2018.
Cefic also noted EU Commission data showing that capacity utilisation in the EU chemicals sector at 82.9% in the first quarter of 2018 – down from 84.1% in the final quarter of 2017
Producer prices, however, were above the prior-year level, growing 2.5% year-on-year in the first quarter, estimated Cefic. With hikes of over 4%, prices for plastics and dyes & pigments outpaced those in other sectors.
EU chemicals imports, it said, increased 8.3% to €18.8 billion from January to February 2018. A significant rise in products coming in from China and South Korea offset a decline in imports from Africa, Middle East and the US.
EU chemicals exports rose by 5.8% year-on-year to €26.4 billion through February of the current year, with Cefic reporting increases in all chemicals sectors.
Exports to the US increased by €713 million, Nearly 60% of this which was attributed to petrochemicals. This offset a decline in EU chemicals exports to Middle East, South Korea and China.