Results for the first half held back by stagnant sales and production dips

The European chemicals sector has seen only sluggish growth in the first half of 2014, according to the latest European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) report. Despite overall chemicals output rising 0.6% on the same time last year, May and June saw production fall, slowing the industry’s tortuous recovery from the global recession. Looking at the figures for the second quarter, production actually contracted by 1.2%, thanks to poor performance in May and June.

Cefic’s director general, Hubert Mandery, said that ‘slightly lower production levels and stagnant sales’ are holding back the sector’s recovery and that the EU could do more to bolster trade through agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The council’s forecast for the industry suggests that exports are unlikely to increase in the short-term. Chemical production is still 4.5 percentage points below the industry’s 2011 high point after the recession.