First 2023 Cefic Chemical Trends Report: short relief from high energy prices is followed by strong decline in chemicals demand, still Economic Sentiment Indicator is up


Brussels, 06 February 2023 –While declining energy costs provide a short relief, we observe high levels of stocks of finished chemicals products and a drop in chemicals demand.

Here some of the key findings from the latest CTR:

  • Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI): in December 2022, the ESI rose for the second time in both the EU27 and the euro area.

  • Chemicals business confidence: the industry confidence picked up slightly for the second time since February, driven by a strong uplift in the production expectations of managers
  • Stocks of finished chemical products: the level of stocks has increased throughout the first 10 months of 2022. The level of stocked finished chemical products is close to the record levels recorded during the Covid Crisis.
  • Chemicals production: Over the first 11 months of 2022, chemicals output declined, recording a level of production 5.1% below 2021 levels (Jan-Nov). Throughout 2022, we have seen a decoupling between chemical production and the other manufacturing sectors.
  • Trade flows: When looking at the value terms, the EU27 trade flows shows that, after import value exceeded export value since March, exports values exceeded imports values again since August 2022. However, the period between January and October 2022 showcases a deficit of about €1.7 billion in comparison to the same period of 2021. When looking at volume, there has been a rapid loss of momentum between March and September 2022.
  • Oil price: In December 2022, the price of oil in euros dropped significantly.

Cefic Chemical Trends Report analyses and compiles key economic data regarding  the chemical business in Europe, such as the EU27 Business climate for the chemical industry, the EU27 Economic Sentiment, oil prices, and production trends.

All editions of the Chemical Trends report can be found here.