Chemical production in Germany fell by 0.9% in the first 3 months of the year from the previous 3 months, and corresponding sales were down 6.7%, to $63.3 billion, according to a report by the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI), Germany’s largest chemical industry association. German chemical production is on course to fall by 5% for the year as a whole, the organization forecasts. New business is restrained, and demand for chemical products remains down. The weak industrial economy in Europe and worldwide has resulted in a reluctance by some chemical customers to order products, VCI says. High energy costs remain the sector’s biggest problem. “Even if the energy and raw material bills for many chemical and pharmaceutical companies in the first quarter were lower than three months earlier, the cost is still twice as much as in previous years,” VCI president Markus Steilemann says in the report.