Crewe, UK – The UK chemicals sector has seen a sharp decline in both order books and sales, according to the Chemical Business Association (CBA).
In its latest supply-chain trends survey, the CBA also reported current and future sales-margins turning negative among its members in the independent chemical-supply chain.
Members were asked if their order books are better, worse, or the same than during the previous three months. While the November survey showed a positive balance of +14%, this marked a significant decline from the +32% reported in June 2018.
Likewise, compared to the preceding three months, respondents said current sales volumes show a positive balance of +7% – sharply lower than three months ago (+27%).
Future sales trends also continued to lose momentum: at +9%, down from the +17% reported in the last survey.
Margins and employment
Sales margins, meanwhile, moved into negative territory (-11%) compared with the +8% reported three months ago. Respondents forecast sales margins will remain negative over the next three months generating a balance of -7%.
Trends for employment remained positive at +16, but weaker than the +28% reported in June 2018, found the survey conducted 5-16 Nov, and based on responses from 56 member companies.
Based in Crewe, the CBA represents distributors, traders, warehouse operators, along with logistics and transport companies, most of which are SMEs.