Cautious Optimism in Germany

Cautious Optimism in Germany


In 2013 the production of the German chemical industry increased by 1.5 %. Sales barely improved due to falling prices. Business with foreign customers stagnated at the 2012 level, because no growth impulses came from the USA, Brazil, India, or China. Domestic sales by Germany’s third largest industry improved.

For 2014 the VCI is expecting an increase in chemical production by 2 %. With slightly falling producer prices (–0.5 %) chemical industry sales should rise by 1.5 % to 191 billion euros.

After two years of more or less stagnating investment activity, German chemical companies increased their funds for fixed asset investment in 2013. Domestic investments amounted to 6.4 billion euros (+2 % over 2012). Most of this investment increase went into capacity expansion (42 %).
With falling prices (–1 %), total sales of the German chemical industry grew only slightly. At 188 billion euros, total sales were just 0.5 % higher than in 2012. Sales rose by 1 % to 75 billion euros. By contrast, foreign sales stagnated at 113 billion euros.
In 2013, exports – this term comprises foreign sales by chemical companies as well as re-exports and exports of chemicals by other industries – climbed by 2 % to 165 billion euros. Imports of chemical products stagnated at 111 billion euros.

A low degree of planning security and long planning periods for major projects or the large divide in energy costs are some factors according to the VCI which have led chemical companies to increasingly favor Asia and the USA in their investment decisions.

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