Achema Messeguide 2012

February 2012 data show that the EU chemicals production level remains 5.3 per cent below the peak in 2007. Prices for chemicals in the European Union increased on a year-on-year basis in February, climbing 4.4 per cent during the month against the comparable month in 2011. The uptick in prices was led again by the overall price increase in basic inorganics. Latest trade data show the EU chemicals trade net trade surplus improved in January 2012 by €0.8 billion compared with January 2011, reaching €4.1 billion. Cefic Chief Economist Moncef Hadhri said: „EU chemicals production was negatively affected in the first quarter by continued deterioration in the EU business climate and weak macro-economic activity. The sector‘s downward growth trend is partly the result of financial turbulence stemming from the European debt crisis and the intensifying fiscal consolidation efforts in most EU member states.“

Year-on-year chemicals output lower in February, but consumer chemicals expands Consumer chemicals was the only sub-sector to avoid a drop in the February EU chemicals production index, up just 0.7 per cent in February 2012 compared with February 2011. Basic inorganics and specialty chemicals production decreased 5.2 per cent and 4.5 per cent respectively on a year-on-year basis in February. Petrochemicals declined during the month by 3.5 per cent while polymers decreased by 2.6 per cent against the comparable period the year prior.

Sentiment Weakens in the EU

After improving in January and February, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) decreased in March by 0.8 points in the European Union to 93.2. The decline was mainly driven by decreasing confidence in the industry sectors. By contrast, confidence increased among consumers and in the services and retail trade sectors. Among the largest Member States, the UK (-2.5) reported the biggest decrease in sentiment, followed by Germany (-2.4) and the Netherlands (-1.3). By contrast, sentiment improved in Italy (+3.5), Poland (+2.2) and France (+2.0). The ESI is above its long-term average only in Germany.

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