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Business

Europe’s output recovers

by Alex Scott
March 12, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 11

It has taken almost 10 years, but Europe’s chemical industry has finally exceeded its output from before the economic crash of 2008, according to Eurostat, a European Commission agency. European Union chemical production in the fourth quarter of 2017 was 0.3% above that of the first quarter of 2008. Overall, EU chemical production in 2017 increased 3.6% from 2008. EU chemical sales for 2016, the latest year for which data are available, were $630 billion, still down from $737 billion in 2008, according to the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), Europe’s leading chemical industry association. The EU industry’s slow recovery from the 2008 recession reflects problems with European policies, including those relating to energy, R&D, and fiscal matters, says Moncef Hadhri, Cefic’s chief economist. Slow growth in postrecession Europe is also a result of mature markets and an aging population, Hadhri says. The U.S. industry recovered from the recession more quickly because the U.S. has a more flexible economy and a more investment-friendly industrial policy, he adds.

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