According to the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI), the chemical-pharmaceutical industry in Germany has not yet felt the full force of the corona pandemic in the first quarter of 2020. According to the current quarterly report, production in the first quarter of 2020 increased by 3.2 % compared to the previous quarter, and by 0.9 % compared to the same period of the previous year. Sales rose to 49.5 billion euros from January to March 2020. This is an increase of 0.6 % compared to the previous quarter. Domestic sales rose by 3.3 %. Foreign sales fell by almost 1 % due to the corona pandemic.
The VCI attributes this development of Germany’s third-largest industrial sector primarily to the high demand for pharmaceuticals, various hygiene articles, and packaging materials. However, the industry expects a severe recession, as a VCI member survey shows. 75 % of the VCI members expect a decline in sales in Europe. Declining orders, disrupted supply chains, and a lack of transport capacities concern the industry.
In January and February 2020, the crisis initially was felt in business with Asia because the Chinese economy shrank as a result of the lockdown. From March onwards, the corona pandemic then slowed economic growth and demand for chemicals worldwide. The European economy in large parts came to a standstill.
The VCI expects a significant decline in production and sales in the chemical-pharmaceutical industry in Germany in 2020. The association will not publish an exact forecast until after the second quarter.
- Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI; German Chemical Industry Association), Frankfurt am Main, Germany