German Chemical Sales Rose 2% in First Half on Specialty Demand

German chemical sales rose 2 percent in the first half on higher demand for fine chemicals and specialty products, the VCI German chemical trade group said.

The industry’s revenue reached 98 billion euros ($133 billion), VCI said today at a press conference in Frankfurt, where the group is based. Chemical production including pharmaceuticals gained 3 percent while selling prices dropped 2 percent.

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. None of Germany’s chemical companies have reported first-half earnings yet, with BASF scheduled to release on July 24.

“The chemical industry is feeling an upward swing,” VCI said. “In the first half of the year 2014, domestic sales with industrial customers increased strongly. Neighboring European countries also ordered more chemicals.”

A free-trade agreement between the European Union and the U.S. called the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, would boost would boost chemical production by 2 billion euros and create 2,000 jobs, Karl-Ludwig Kley, president of the VCI, said today.

Talks between the U.S. and European Union to establish the world’s largest free-trade area began last July. Chancellor Angela Merkel is promoting TTIP to a skeptical German public as a way to boost growth and jobs in Europe.

EU officials have raised concern that the agreement will have to respect European privacy and data laws. Opponents campaigned against TTIP in European elections in May, focusing on U.S. food standards they say are lower than in Europe.

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, VCI reiterated.

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