Brussels - Europe’s share of the world chemicals market dropped significantly over the 10-year period to 2018, as China took over the top-spot, Cefic has reported
Last year, China’s global chemicals sales reached €1,200 billion, 35.8% of the global market – up from 18.2% in 2008 – according to the European chemical industry group.
Over the same timescale, the market share of the EU28 and Russia dropped from 26.5% to 16.9%, with sales of €640.5 billion in 2018, found the recent Cefic review.
“China is taking its chemicals industry to the next stage of development… looking to [become] a great power in the petroleum and chemical industry,” said the Cefic 2020 Facts & Figures report.
The results also show a decreasing share of chemical sales for industrial regions such as NAFTA and Japan over the past ten years.
NAFTA’s share of global sales went down from 21.8% in 2008 to 15.8% in 2018, while Japan’s market share decreased from 7 % to 5.4% in the same period.
Chemicals sales in the US reached €468 billion in 2018, showing a modest 1% improvement compared to the year before.
With an annual investment of €10 billion in R&D, Cefic said that the European chemical industry was still “a world leader and a highly innovative” sector.
Nevertheless, with 90% of global GDP growth taking place outside Europe in the coming decades, the challenge will be to remain competitive.
“Taking advantage of emerging market opportunities will require EU leadership in creating attractive framework conditions,” said the Cefic report.
The document called for a “favourable European industrial policy” to stimulate innovation and investment and deliver a low-carbon and circular economy.
To that end, ambitious trade policies such as the trade agreement with Canada (CETA) and the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, are vital, the report emphasised.