CHEMICAL INDUSTRY GERMANY
VCI President Kullmann: “No all-clear for raw material supply” / Industry expects record sales growth / Electricity price cause for concern
Christian Kullmann, president of the German chemical industry association VCI (Frankfurt; www.vci.de), was in high spirits at the presentation of the industry’s half-year results. Kullmann, who hails from Germany’s Ruhr Valley, implied that only God knows when companies can expect a normalisation, or at least an improvement, in the supply situation for raw materials and an end to force majeure reports.

In presenting this bitter truth, Kullmann, whose day job is managing German speciality chemicals company Evonik (Essen; www.evonik.com), was backed by VCI Director General Wolfgang Große Entrup and Henrik Meincke, the association’s chief economist. Their assessments of the situation were unequivocal: all companies are working “with verve to restore their ability to supply,” said Große Entrup, but forecasts are currently “insanely difficult”. Meincke echoed that sentiment. “The situation is tense. The warehouses are empty. We cannot do more at the moment. The upheavals will still be with us for quite some time.”

While plastics processors continue to face uncertain times, the chemical-pharmaceutical industry in Germany looks back on the first half of 2021 with its chest out and expecting great things from the future. Despite the Covid pandemic and supply chain problems, the association announced that industry turnover rose 12% to EUR 111 bn compared to the same period last year thanks to healthy demand at home and abroad, along with strongly rising prices.

In the second quarter, production increased by another 1.4% compared to the first three months of the year and almost 11% versus the same period of the previous year. Turnover in May and June 2021 rose almost 23% compared to 2020 thanks to material shortages, high prices and generous profit margins. The increase in resin manufacturing is no less spectacular: for example, polymer production in the first half of 2021 grew more than 20% compared to the same period last year.

The VCI cited the continuing recovery of industrial production worldwide as the main reason for the rapid upswing, since this increases demand for chemical products. For the year as a whole, the association said it expects a 45.5% increase in production and an 11% increase in growth. “For the second time after 2018, our industry will break through the sound barrier of EUR 200 bn this year and significantly exceed the pre-crisis level with a record turnover,” Kullmann announced.

However, the VCI boss said he is troubled by energy costs with which companies in the industry must contend: “Currently, electricity costs three times as much as it did last year,” Kullmann lamented and called on politicians to act quickly: “The incoming federal government must examine all state-related levies on the price of electricity and roll them back as much as possible.”
02.09.2021 Plasteurope.com [248375-0]
Published on 02.09.2021
Deutsche Chemieindustrie: Keine Entwarnung bei RohstoffversorgungGerman version of this article...

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