Chemicals output within the EU increased 3.7% during the first eight months of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016, according to the latest figures from the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic).
Production, said Cefic 15 Nov, rose in most chemicals sub-sectors, with ‘significant’ increases in crop protection, basic inorganics, dyes and pigments, polymers, and consumer chemicals.
This is while specialities segment saw smaller growth.
For the eight months to end of August, chemicals prices rose 5.3%, above the previous year’s level, Cefic said.
Most sectors witnessed price hikes, with petrochemicals registering strongest increases, led by paints and crop protection each recording a price rise of about 1%.
Consumer chemicals prices edged up by 0.6%.
According to Cefic figures, the momentum ended in the summer as prices fell by 1.1% during July and August, compared to May and June 2017.
Capacity utilisation rates remained high at 83.8%, which is 3% above long-term average.
“EU capacity is close to its peak level over the years (2008-2017),” said Cefic adding that the situation ‘varied considerably’ from one EU country to another.
While Poland has already reached its peak level and Belgium posted its highest capacity utilisation rate in the third quarter of 2017, the UK, Spain and Austria are below their peak level.
Italy, Germany, France, and The Netherlands only need 2-3% of additional capacity to “catch up”, added Cefic.