VCI report on the business situation of the German chemical-pharmaceutical industry in the 1st quarter 2017
Strong start 2017 for German chemical business
2.1 percent increase in chemical production against the previous quarter ++ 2.2 percent rise in chemical prices ++ 3.5 percent improvement in chemical industry sales ++ Forecast: moderate growth in the course of the year.
The chemical-pharmaceutical industry in Germany looks back on an encouraging 1st quarter 2017, according to the latest quarterly report by the German chemical industry association Verband der Chemischen Industrie e. V. (VCI). Production increased in both segments; capacity utilisation of plants reached a peak value. Larger production volumes and the persistent upward trend of producer prices brought a clear rise in sales. At home in Germany, the robust industrial demand and strong building activities stimulated the chemical business. The foreign demand for chemicals went up too. Customers not only in Europe – the industry’s major foreign market – ordered more chemical products: Sales to Asia and North America also remained on the growth path in the 1st quarter 2017.
VCI President Kurt Bock on the economic situation of the chemical and pharma industry in Germany: “Business sentiment is good in the industry. But, speaking in metaphors, one swallow does not make a summer. After the encouraging start of the year it remains to be seen whether the positive development lasts in chemistry. Many economic uncertainties and political risks can dampen the upswing.”
The VCI currently expects chemical production to increase by 1 percent in 2017. In combination with a 2.5 percent rise in chemical prices, the industry’s sales should improve by 3.5 percent to 191.2 billion euros.
In the initial three months of 2017, production in the German chemical industry increased by 2.1 percent against the previous quarter and by 1.1 percent over the strong 1st quarter 2016. Capacity utilisation in the industry climbed to 87.7 percent.
The upward trend of prices for chemical products accelerated in the 1st quarter 2017, with prices rising by 2.2 percent against the previous quarter. For the first time in four years, producer prices were above the previous year’s level also in a twelve-month comparison (+2.8 percent).
Compared with the previous quarter, the industry’s sales improved by 3.5 percent to 47 billion euros. The increase was 3.8 percent in comparison with the previous year. Both domestic and foreign business developed positively.
The number of jobs in the German chemical industry grew in the 1st quarter 2017. Now the industry has 449,300 staff, reflecting an employment increase by 0.5 percent over the previous year.
The full version of the VCI’s latest quarterly report (VCI-Quartalsbericht 1/2017, in German language) is available in the download section at the top of this page. Additonal material there: Executive summary of the report in English language, table with the final key figures for the overall year 2016 and the updated VCI forecast for 2017, the two main charts of the report as jpg files in high resolution (indicators for 1st quarter, capacity utilization 2013 to 2017 by quarter).
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 185 billion euros and employed over 447,000 staff.