The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) and German Chemical Industry Association (VCI), Europe and Germany’s leading chemical industry associations, have downgraded their commercial outlooks for 2023. Cefic forecasts that full-year chemical production in the European Union will decline by 8% from 2022. “The EU chemical industry is facing a perfect storm,” Marco Mensink, Cefic’s director general, says in a press release. “The combination of high energy prices, lack of global demand and the US IRA [Inflation Reduction Act] means there is simply no business case for investing in Europe now.” Plant capacity use levels for the first quarter of this year were similar to those seen during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, the organization says. Indicators for the European chemical industry point to a further decline in incoming orders. VCI has a similar outlook. “The demand for chemicals is decreasing,” VCI president Markus Steilemann says in a press release. The German chemical industry’s problems are high energy prices and corporate taxes, poor infrastructure, a shortage of skilled workers, a digitization backlog, and bureaucracy, he says. VCI anticipates production for the full year will be down 8% from 2022 and that with prices also falling, sales for 2023 will fall 14%.