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Economy

Growth slows in Europe’s chemical sector

by Alex Scott
July 19, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 29

Sales growth for the European chemical sector slowed in the first quarter of 2019 to 0.9%, down from more than 2% in the same period a year ago. The sector’s total sales were $162 billion, according to the European Chemical Industry Council, a trade association. The export market was stronger than the domestic market in the quarter, with exports rising 1.4% to about $47 billion. European Union chemical exports to the US for the period were down 6.8%, though, to $9.2 billion. EU chemical exports to China rose 9.1% to $3.9 billion. An EU business and consumer survey in June shows that industry confidence in the region has fallen more sharply than at any other time during the past 8 years. Meanwhile, uncertainty over the UK’s exit from the EU has led to a 50% drop in second-quarter chemical sector investment in the country compared with the same time a year ago, according to the UK’s Chemical Industries Association. “We have the most uncertain business investment conditions for decades,” says CIA CEO Steve Elliott.

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