Germany Petrochemicals Report Q3 2016 - New Report Available

Fast Market Research recommends "Germany Petrochemicals Report Q3 2016" from Business Monitor International, now available

[ClickPress, Fri Jun 24 2016] Germany's petrochemicals industry has witnessed a decline in the value of sales, but rising output volumes and continued low naphtha costs have helped producers defend margins. The outlook is modestly positive with sales likely to be increasingly oriented towards the domestic market, although there are ongoing concerns over the potential threat of competition from low-cost producers the US and the Middle East. Germany will need to maintain its level of value added with its advantage in technological innovation in order to maintain competitiveness.

In Q116, German chemical output, excluding pharma, rose 1.9% q-o-q but only 0.2% y-o-y, according to the Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI, Chemical Industry Association). However, with capacity utilisation at 83.6%, the sector was performing well. Chemical prices declined 1.4% y-o-y and 1.3% q-o-q due to falling feedstock costs. Demand also decreased with domestic sales down 1.2% q-o-q and 4.1% q-o-q and external sales down -0.7% q-o-q and 3.1% y-o-y.

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There is growing confidence of a strong year among plastic packaging manufacturers as consumer demand strengthens, while the construction sector is also set for rising growth rates. The weak point is the automotive industry, which looks set to be hit by the Volkswagen emissions scandal. This will put downward pressure on demand from the automotive parts producers and undermines the drive to diversify and add value to petrochemical production.

For the year 2016, BMI has downgraded its forecast for chemical output growth from 1.5% to 1.0%. However, as producer prices are anticipated to fall by 2.0%, chemical industry sales are projected to drop by 1.0% to EUR187bn. On the upside, the naphtha-ethylene spread was sustained at an average of around EUR555-557 in H116, an improvement on Q415. Derivative prices are also showing signs of recovery, indicating that German petrochemicals producers will remain profitable even as the value of sales declines.

As a result of falling competitiveness, small-scale polymers capacity is being shut down as German petrochemicals producers seek to cut costs and improve competitiveness. However, some value-added polymers output is gaining strength. Ineos Group and Solvay SA's joint venture Inovyn has announced that it is permanently closing its 150,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) polyvinyl chloride production facility in Schkopau. Meanwhile, investment is being directed into polymers used in the automotive industry, with BASF leading the way under its EUR6bn programme over 2016-2020.

Germany scores 81.8 points, unchanged since the previous quarter as a result of improved country risk. Poor growth over the last few years has limited the market size and, while positive, we forecast muted growth. Germany retains its unassailable lead in BMI's European Petrochemicals Risk/Reward Index, a clear 8.3 points ahead of the Netherlands.

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