BASF Report 2023

Trends in the Chemical Industry

Global growth in the chemical industry was very weak overall in 2023 (2023: +1.7%, 2022: +2.1%), but varied greatly from region to region. While the chemical industry in China grew dynamically by 7.5%1 on the basis of official figures, it shrank by 3.9% in the rest of the world as a whole.

Production losses were especially severe in the E.U. Following a decline of 5.2% in 2022, production recorded a further decline of 7.6% in 2023. In Germany, production fell even more sharply by 9.7% (after –12.1% in 2022). These sharp declines primarily reflect base effects from the previous year. In view of the overall weak demand for industrial goods, the correspondingly low demand for intermediate inputs from the chemical industry and ongoing import pressure from China, production in the E.U. and Germany remained largely at the low level reached in the fourth quarter of 2022. The decline in production in the second half of 2022 due to energy costs could not be compensated for in this weak environment. In addition, gas prices in Northwestern Europe remained high by international standards, even though they had dropped below pre-Ukraine war levels by 2023.

In the United Kingdom, chemical production decreased by 8.4% (2022: –4.5%).

Despite low energy prices internationally, chemical production in the United States also essentially trended sideways over the course of the year and closed the year with a decline in production of 1.0% (2022: +2.2%). One major reason for the weak development was the low domestic demand for equipment for private households and from the construction industry.

In contrast, chemical production in Asia expanded by 4.6%. This varied widely by country. In China, the world’s largest chemical market, production expanded by 7.5% (2022: +6.6%).1 In India, production largely stagnated. Conversely, Japan (–6.6%), South Korea (–10.0%) and Taiwan (–10.5%) recorded sharp declines in production.

Chemical production in the Middle East also decreased by 1.5%. Almost all countries in the region recorded negative growth rates. At 7.7%, Turkey saw the sharpest decline.

Chemical production (excluding pharmaceuticals) (Real change compared with previous year)







European Union



United States



Emerging markets of Asia excluding China









South America




Our own estimate of the growth rate, based on official statistics from China for the overall market and individual products.

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