German Chemical Companies See Further Recovery in 2014, VCI Says

German chemical companies are expecting further recovery in 2014 after production growth accelerated in the fourth quarter of last year, said Utz Tillmann, head of the VCI German chemical lobby group.

Chemical production rose 2.6 percent in January year-on-year, after a 3.7 percent gain in the fourth quarter, according to Tillmann.

VCI, which represents 1,650 German chemical companies including BASF SE and Lanxess AG, reiterated a full-year forecast for chemical sales to gain 1.5 percent, as the industry sells more for a lower average price. The increase in production at the end of last year and the beginning of this year looks like a real recovery in demand and not a sign that customers are just refilling inventories, Tillmann said.

“At the moment, the prospects for 2014 are good for the industry,” Tillmann said yesterday at a press conference in Frankfurt, where the organization is based. “The upward trend from the end of the year is continuing. All segments of the chemical industry are noticing a revival. We expect increasing demand for chemicals at home and abroad, especially from European industrial customers.”

Chemical production will probably increase 2 percent with selling prices dropping 0.5 percent, leading to the gain of 1.5 percent in sales to 191.5 billion euros ($265.6 billion), VCI reiterated.

Fourth-quarter sales in Germany’s chemical industry rose 3 percent compared with a year earlier, while selling prices dropped 2.6 percent, VCI said. The industry employed 436,500 people at the end of the quarter, 0.5 percent more than a year earlier.

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