BASF Report 2021

Outlook for Key Customer Industries

Overall, we anticipate growth of 3.8% (2021: 6.5%) in global industrial production. Growth in the advanced economies (2022: 3.4%; 2021: 5.3%) is likely to be weaker than growth in the emerging markets (2022: 4.1%; 2021: 7.4%).

We are forecasting higher growth in the transportation industry1 in 2022 compared with our other customer industries on average. Based on the current, exceptionally low level, we expect production in the automotive industry to return to strong growth. Overall, production volumes will however still remain well below pre-coronavirus pandemic levels. Growth should pick up again in Europe in particular, after automotive production declined by 26% overall in 2020 and 2021. North America also has a lot of ground to make up. Automotive production there fell by around one-fifth overall in the past two years, compared with around 7% in Asia. Accordingly, we anticipate the strongest catch-up effects in Europe, followed by North America and Asia. However, the supply of precursors, especially semiconductors, will remain a problem and will continue to limit growth.

In the energy and raw materials sector, we are forecasting slightly higher production growth than in 2021 due to strong demand and higher raw materials prices. We expect the OPEC+ countries to continue to gradually step up oil production. Oil and gas production in the United States should increase as well.

Growth in the construction industry is expected to weaken somewhat. More so than in 2021, commercial construction and infrastructure investment will be a stronger driver than new residential construction. Residential construction activity is expected to cool sharply, especially in China. However, the infrastructure program in the United States, projects under the European Recovery and Resilience Facility, further government programs to support the energetic renovation of existing buildings and still low interest rates will continue to support growth in the construction industry.

Consumer goods production is expected to grow slightly faster than global GDP. We expect growth in textiles and consumer durables to decline. Production of care products will presumably likewise grow at a slightly slower rate than in the previous year.

In the electronics industry, demand is likely to remain high and benefit from the ongoing trend toward digitalization and automation in many areas of application, both in industry and in private households. Nevertheless, we expect weaker growth compared with the exceptionally strong prior year.

In the health and nutrition sector, we are forecasting lower growth compared with 2021, as the exceptionally strong growth in the pharmaceutical industry is expected to level off. Growth in the food industry is also likely to return to its long-term growth path after the gradual reopening of the hospitality sector following the lockdowns in the previous year provided above-average growth in 2021.

Under normal weather conditions, growth in agricultural production in 2022 will presumably be similar to the long-term average. Production in industrialized countries will grow only weakly. By contrast, we anticipate solid production growth in emerging markets such as Argentina, China, India and Ukraine.

1 The transportation industry includes the production of motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts and the construction of other vehicles (especially ships and boats, trains, air and spacecraft, and two-wheelers).