EU chemical production down

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EU chemical production downBrussels – After three consecutive months of expansion, EU chemicals production fell by 1.6% in January 2013 compared to January 2012, according to the latest Cefic Chemicals Trends Report.

Despite the decline. EU chemicals prices for the month climbed by 2.2% compared with the same period the year prior. However, overall chemicals industry confidence indicators deteriorated slightly in March

Cefic linked the decline in sentiment to lower order-book assessments and worsening in assessment of production expectations for the coming months.

The year-end 2012 net trade surplus reached €49.6 billion, more than €9 billion above the level seen during the same period in 2011.

Recently published data show sales were slightly lower in 2012 compared with 2011, but stood 5.4% higher than the pre-crisis, full-year peak level reached in 2008.

EU chemicals production index for January was dragged down by petrochemicals, which declined 3.6% year-on-year during the month.

Lower overall production was also affected by polymers, down 1.3% in January compared with January 2012. Consumer chemicals output rose by nearly one per cent in January. Specialty chemicals output declined by only 0.6%.

Year-on-year EU chemicals prices rose by 2.2% in January, driven by the price for petrochemicals, which increased by 5.5% in January as compared with the year prior.

Recent oil price increases factored into the petrochemicals spike. Prices climbed for consumer chemicals by 1.4%.

Trade data available through December 2012 show a €49.6 billion year-to-date EU chemicals net trade surplus with other markets, up €9 billion compared with same 12-month period the year prior.

The EU net trade surplus with non-EU Europe, which includes Russia and Turkey, contributed significantly to the jump in the January-to-December overall surplus, reaching €15.2 billion, a 23% jump from 2011.

The EU net trade surplus with NAFTA reached €11.3 billion last year, rising by €1.8 billion compared with the same period in 2011. A slight bump occurred in the trade surplus with Asia, excluding Japan and China, edging up by €0.3 billion to €5.3 billion.

Total 2012 chemicals sales were 1.0% lower compared with full year levels in 2011. EU chemicals sales during 2012 were 5.4% higher than the pre-crisis, full-year peak level reached in 2008. December sales were 1.9% higher compared with December the year prior.