2023 Facts and Figures of the European Chemical Industry

It has yet again been a turbulent year.

The consequences of the Russian war against Ukraine, weak demand, high energy costs, rising interest rates and inflation continue to affect the European chemical industry. And then comes the US Inflation Reduction Act, challenging us even more.

With 10.6% decline, the EU27 chemical industry reported the third-largest drop in production in 2023 (Jan-Sep). Capacity utilisation in the EU27 chemical industry declined once more and was at 74.1% in the third quarter of 2023. This comes at a time when the EU chemical industry has to undergo the biggest transformation in the history of our sector and become climate neutral, circular, and digital at the same time as transitioning to safe and sustainable chemicals, all by 2050.

A transformation that requires billions of additional investments between now and 2050. But a worthwhile transformation as solutions developed by the chemical industry extend the lifespan of wind turbines, turn waste into sustainable fibre for new clothes, and make electric vehicle batteries more powerful and efficient. Without the chemical industry thriving, Europe cannot achieve the Green Deal.

Creating a business case for investment in Europe should therefore be the main strategic political priority of the incoming European Commission. The numbers in this brochure give you all the proof you need.

Unless specified, chemical industry excludes pharmaceuticals.


For the sake of data integrity, figures within Cefic’s Facts & Figures publications are compiled and updated on a regular basis from public statistical sources (Eurostat, EU Commission, European Environmental Agency, …). These sources regularly review their previous years’ data and at times retroactively amend it. As a result of these updates, the comparison of annual Cefic Facts & Figures editions is not necessarily consistent over time.

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