BASF Report 2022

Outlook for Key Customer Industries

Overall, we anticipate growth of 1.8% (2022: +2.5%) in global industrial production. Industrial production is expected to contract in the advanced economies (2023: –0.3%, 2022: +0.9%). Growth in the emerging markets will probably remain at a similar level to the previous year (2023: +3.5%, 2022: +3.8%).

For the transportation industry,1 we are forecasting lower growth of 2.8% in 2023 compared with the previous year (+5.7%). Although supply bottlenecks in the automotive industry, especially semiconductor shortages, are expected to ease further, demand for motor vehicles will cool due to declining purchasing power and rising interest rates. We expect global production volumes of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles to rise to around 84 million units in the coming year (2022: 82 million units). This means that the total number of vehicles produced is still almost 9% below pre-pandemic levels (around 92 million vehicles produced annually on average from 2015 to 2019). We expect the expansion of electromobility to progress rapidly and the share of total production volumes attributable to purely battery-electric vehicles to rise significantly from 10% in 2022 to almost 14% in 2023.

The catch-up effects in the European and North American auto­motive markets following the pandemic-related disruptions to supply chains are expected to slowly taper off. For both markets, we are assuming further but slower growth than in 2022. Following the significant increase in production in the previous year, we also anticipate weaker market growth in China. We also expect growth rates to decline overall in the other emerging markets of Asia. For Japan, on the other hand, we are forecasting a recovery in growth from a low baseline.

In the energy and raw materials sector, we expect lower growth in output overall due to the macroeconomic slowdown, mainly as a result of weaker growth in demand for oil and gas. Regional growth rates will vary considerably. Oil and gas production should continue to grow strongly in the United States but decline in Asia. In Europe, production will probably stagnate. By contrast, production of other non-agricultural commodities will grow at high, stable rates in Asia, stagnate in the United States and decline in Europe.

Growth in the construction industry is expected to continue to slow. Residential construction is likely to contract due to higher mortgage rates in Europe and the United States and the further cooling of the housing market in China. For other building construction, we expect weak growth roughly at the level of the previous year. By contrast, we are forecasting higher year-on-year growth for the infrastructure segment, which should benefit from rising public spending in both the E.U. and the United States.

Consumer goods production is expected to grow only slightly faster than global GDP. The declining purchasing power of private households will have a particularly negative impact on demand for durable consumer goods, for example from the furniture industry. After production declined in 2022, we expect only slight growth for the textile industry, exclusively in the emerging markets. Growth in production of consumables, particularly in care products, will presumably weaken in line with GDP growth.

The electronics industry is also expected to grow at a slower pace in 2023 than in the previous year as private demand for PCs, personal communication devices and consumer electronics is dampened by high consumer price inflation, and many major purchases with long service lives were brought forward during corona­virus lockdowns. However, growth will be supported by the ongoing digitalization trend, meaning that growth rates should significantly outpace global GDP.

In the health and nutrition sector, we expect growth to be slightly higher and above GDP. The pharmaceutical industry is expected to return to slightly stronger growth after low growth in 2022 due to the vaccine boom in the previous year. Overall, food production will also increase at a slightly stronger rate than in the previous year but with wide regional differences. We expect lower growth for the advanced economies but slightly stronger year-on-year growth for the emerging markets due to the gradual recovery in China.

Agricultural production is expected to grow at a similar rate in 2023 to the average for recent years. Around 80% of growth will come from Asia, which is responsible for two-thirds of global agricultural production. Agricultural production in Asia and South America will outpace world production. For North America and Europe, we are only assuming slight growth.

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).

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