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EU CHEMICALS SECTOR GROWS FOR FOURTH CONSECUTIVE QUARTER

Capacity utilisation improves in Q1 2014, reaching highest level in three years
BRUSSELS, May 28, 2014 – European chemicals quarterly output increased for the fourth consecutive time, according to the Cefic Chemicals Trends Report released today. Latest data covering first quarter 2014 show expansion of 3.1 per cent year-on-year, but EU chemicals prices were down 2.8 per cent over the same period. Meanwhile, total EU chemicals sales during the first two months of 2014 were 0.3 per cent higher than the same period of last year, and 2.7 per cent higher than the pre-crisis, full-year peak reached in 2008.
Confidence levels for the sector showed a marginal decrease of 0.7 points in April 2014 compared to one month ago – still above its long-term average. Capacity utilisation rose significantly, to 81.2 per cent in the first quarter of the year from 78.9 per cent in the last quarter of 2013. Capacity utilisation registered in first quarter 2014 reached its highest level in three years.
Output rises in Q1 2014, but petrochemicals fall
Petrochemicals output continued to contract in March 2014, down by 7.7 per cent compared with March 2013. This steep drop was partially offset by a 6.5 per cent increase in output of specialty chemicals and a 5.6 per cent surge in basic inorganics. Polymers grew by 1.3 per cent year-on-year, while consumer chemicals output rose 0.3 per cent. Petrochemicals monthly output has continued to perform below trend growth rates since September 2011, and remains 18 per cent below its post crisis level reached in first quarter 2011.
EU chemicals output during first quarter 2014 was up 3.1 per cent year-on-year, but several years of above-zero expansion are needed to return to the pre-crisis level. Consumerchemicals is the only sector where current production levels are well above the pre-crisis peak level (4.9%).
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http://www.cefic.org/