BRUSSELS—The European chemical sector has continued to perform strongly in 2018, with output up 2.6 percent in the first two months of the year compared to the same period in 2017.
According to the latest chemicals trends report published by European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), production rose in most chemicals sub-sectors, with paints and coating and consumer chemicals posting a 6 percent growth. Demand for specialty chemicals was up 2.7 percent year-on-year.
Chemicals prices rose 3 percent during the period, with polymers and petrochemicals posting "significant and positive growth" in prices compared to the other sectors.
Citing a report by Munich-based Institute for Economic Research, Cefic said expansion in the Euro area economy is set to continue, buoyed by global economic activity and export demand. The main force behind the expansion, it added, will be investment, driven by favorable financing conditions and still upward trending capacity utilization.
In 2017, European chemicals imports rose 8.3 percent to $98.5 billion compared to 2016, with all chemicals sectors posting an increase in import revenue.
The figure went up significantly with contribution from China, the U.S. and Russia, Cefic said.
Imports in specialty chemicals climbed 11.2 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, followed by polymers which saw a 10.7 percent increase.
Consumption, which includes domestic sales and imports, also rose 8.4 percent last year to $460.9 billion.
In terms of exports, the European Union posted a 6.5 percent increase to $143.4 billion in 2017, with all chemical sectors registering growth.
Exports increased significantly to Asian countries including China.
Exports in consumer chemicals went up by 10 percent in 2017, followed by polymers, which posted an 8.9 percent rise.