VCI report on the business situation of the German chemical industry in the 4th quarter 2016

Chemical business brightens up in the final quarter

Chemical production nearly stable, as compared with the previous quarter ++ Increase in chemical prices by 0.5 percent ++ Chemical industry sales improve by 1.6 percent ++ Forecast: chemical business continues to grow slowly.

The business year 2016 was barely dynamic for the chemical-pharmaceutical industry in Germany but ended with a conciliatory 4th quarter. VCI forecasts a continuously slow growth. - Cover: © VCI
The business year 2016 was barely dynamic for the chemical-pharmaceutical industry in Germany but ended with a conciliatory 4th quarter. VCI forecasts a continuously slow growth. - Cover: © VCI

The business year 2016 was barely dynamic for the chemical-pharmaceutical industry in Germany but ended with a conciliatory 4th quarter, according to the latest quarterly report by the German chemical industry association Verband der Chemischen Industrie e. V. (VCI). Chemical production was nearly stable, as compared with the previous quarter – while chemical sales improved for the second consecutive time, inter alia, because prices of chemical products went up further in consequence of climbing oil prices. Growth impulses came mainly from trade with Asia and North America, whereas the domestic business overall did not yet get going. The upward trend lasted for specialty and consumer chemistry and pharmaceuticals.

VCI director-general Utz Tillmann on the economic situation of the industry: “We are living in times where economic developments are hard to predict. Firstly, global trading persists in a weak phase. Secondly, the EU is confronted with the Brexit and numerous political and economic challenges. Against this backdrop, developments in the industrial demand for chemicals show little dynamism. German chemical business grows slowly.”

Forecast

For the year 2017 as a whole, the VCI maintains its forecast of a rise in chemical production by 0.5 percent. Chemical prices are anticipated to go up by 1 percent, so that the industry’s sales should increase by 1.5 percent to 185.7 billion euros.

Production

From October to December 2016, chemical production in Germany fell slightly (-0.2 percent) against the previous three months. Production improved by 1.4 percent against the weak 4th quarter 2015. Capacity utilisation in the industry was 84.9 percent.

Producer prices

Chemical prices rose once more in the period under review: They climbed by 0.5 percent over the previous three months but were still 0.7 percent below the level of the previous year.

Sales

In comparison with the 3rd quarter 2016, the industry’s sales improved by 1.6 percent to 43.1 billion euros in the period under review; that was because of higher prices. Improvements were recorded in both domestic and foreign business. Sales remained unchanged compared with the previous year.

Employment

Compared with the previous quarter, employment in the chemical industry was once more stable from October to December 2016. At present, the industry has 446,000 staff, i.e. there was no change against the previous year.

Please note:
The full version of the VCI’s latest quarterly report (VCI-Quartalsbericht 4/2016, in German language), an exective summary in English as well as a set of charts and other additional information is available in the download sectio at the top of this page.


The VCI represents the politico-economic interests of around 1,700 German chemical companies and German subsidiaries of foreign businesses. For this purpose, the VCI is in contact with politicians, public authorities, other industries, science and media.The VCI stands for over 90 percent of the chemical industry in Germany. In 2016 the German chemical industry realised sales of around 183 billion euros and employed 446,000 staff.

Contact: VCI Press Dept., Phone: +49 69 2556-1496, E-Mail: presse@vci.de

Please note: VCI news about the chemical industry is also available via Twitter: http://twitter.com/chemieverband

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Contacts

Dipl.-Pol. Oliver Claas

E-Mail: claas@vci.de