Industry body predicts second consecutive yearly drop in output with growth not expected to start again until 2014

Cefic is predicting that European chemical industry output will contract by 1% this year, compared with 2012. This latest forecast paints a picture of a slow return to growth in the industry after estimates at the start of the year of a 0.5% expansion. The industry body does not now expect output to pick up again until 2014, when it predicts a 1.5% rise.

The council puts the revision of its forecast down to a struggling European economy with weak consumer demand in the automotive and construction sector. At the same time, tough competition from the US, where energy and feedstock costs are lower thanks a surge in natural gas production as a result of a buoyant fracking industry, is putting the European chemical sector under pressure. Cefic president Kurt Bock said that European policymakers need to urgently address the higher cost of energy to ‘preserve Europe’s industrial core’.