Trends in the chemical industry

Trends in the chemical industry in 2013

  • Growth in global chemical production (excluding pharmaceuticals) stronger than in previous year (2013: +4.6%; 2012: +2.9%)
  • Positive growth in Japan after significant decline in previous year
  • Somewhat higher growth rates in China
  • Crude oil price of Brent blend just under prior-year level
Chemical production (excluding pharmaceuticals)
Real change compared with previous year
Chemical production (excluding pharmaceuticals) (bar chart)Enlarge image

In contrast to industrial production, the chemical industry (excluding pharmaceuticals) grew slightly faster than in the previous year (2013: +4.6%; 2012: +2.9%), marginally above our forecast of +4.3%. Growth rates in chemical production had already increased somewhat over the course of 2012, so that the starting conditions in 2013 were more favorable for higher chemical, as opposed to industrial, production.

The development of the chemical industry varied widely from region to region. After a sharp decline in 2012, chemical production in Europe stagnated. The United States chemical sector posted stable growth against a backdrop of robust growth in customer industries, especially the automotive and construction industries. Growth rates in China and the other emerging markets were overall slightly above the high levels of 2012. After the prior year’s significant decline, the Japanese chemical industry was able to again achieve moderately positive growth. Growth rates fell in South America, mostly as a result of slower growth in Brazil.