The latest Chemical Trend Report issued by the European Chemical Commission (Cefic) shows that chemical production in the EU increased by 0.2% from January to September 2018 compared with the same period in 2017, and sales revenue increased by 4%, mainly because manufacturers raised product prices, which reached the highest price in five years in the third quarter.
Statistics show that in the first three quarters of this year, the output of most chemicals in the EU has declined, with the largest decline in basic chemicals and a 2.9% increase in consumer chemicals. Cefic said the rise in chemical prices was due to the rise in oil prices. The average price of chemicals in the European Union rose by 3.6% year on year, with petrochemical prices rising by 5.4%, basic inorganic materials by 5.3% and polymer prices by 4.2%.
As of August this year, EU chemicals exports totaled 108.4 billion euros ($122.6 billion), up from 104 billion euros in the same period last year, an increase of 4.6% over the same period last year. Among them, EU chemical exports to the United States increased by 10.8% year on year, reaching 21.5 billion euros. The EU's exports of petrochemical products to the United States increased 14% year on year to 1.08 billion euros, and its exports of special chemicals to the United States increased 11.7% year on year to 650 million euros. The EU's exports of petrochemical products to China fell 13% year on year to 342 million euros. However, China remains the third largest export market of the EU's chemical industry, accounting for nearly 9% of its total exports.
As of August 2018, EU chemical imports increased by 6.8% year-on-year to 77.2 billion euros. In the first eight months of 2018, EU imports of chemicals from China increased 16.7% year-on-year to 10.5 billion euros. Over the same period, EU imports of chemicals from the United States decreased by 203 million euros, mainly basic inorganic and consumer chemicals. In the first eight months of 2018, the EU's net trade surplus in chemicals was 31.2 billion, down 1.8% from a year earlier. The EU's largest trade surplus in chemicals is in other European countries, the United States, Africa and Brazil. The EU maintains a chemical trade deficit with India, South Korea, China and Japan.