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European Resin Manufacturers Association


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European Resin Manufacturers Association (ERMA)
European Resin Manufacturers Association (ERMA)

European Market News

European Chemical Industry (2016 Facts & Figures)
Output from the EU chemical industry covers three broad product areas: 

  • Base chemicals
  • Specialty chemicals 
  • Consumer chemicals 

Base chemicals covers petrochemicals and their polymers derivatives along with basic inorganics. Considered commodity chemicals, they are produced in large volumes and sold in the chemical industry itself or to other industries. Base chemicals in 2014 represented 59.6 per cent of total EU chemicals sales. 

Specialty chemicals covers areas such as paints and inks, crop protection, dyes and pigments. Specialty chemicals are produced in small volumes but they nevertheless made up 27.8 per cent of total EU chemicals sales in 2014. 

Consumer chemicals are sold to final consumers, such as soaps and detergents as well as perfumes and cosmetics. They represented 12.6 per cent of total EU chemicals sales in 2014. Petrochemicals and specialty chemicals accounted for the majority – 54.9 per cent – of EU chemicals sales in 2014. 



Despite domestic and international economic uncertainty, EU chemical industry exports reached €137.7 billion in 2014. EU chemicals imports from the non-EU area reached €94.2 billion in 2014. This resulted in an EU chemicals trade surplus of €43.5 billion.



Chemical companies in the European Union in 2014 employed a total staff of about 1.2 million. The sector generated an even greater number of indirect jobs – up to three times higher than through direct employment. 
Direct employment in the EU chemical industry decreased by an average annual rate of 1.7 per cent from 1997 to 2014. The number of employees in 2014 was 25 per cent less than the 1997 level. While quarterly data shows that the direct employment level has stabilised since first quarter of 2010, the level of employment in the second quarter of 2015 is 9.4 per cent below the peak level before the crisis experienced in third quarter 2007. 
According to Eurostat data (2012), employment in the EU chemical industry is particularly high in five subsectors – petrochemicals; paints, varnishes and similar coatings, printing ink and mastics; plastics in primary forms; perfumes and toilet preparations; soap and detergents, cleaning and polishing preparations – all sectors with a significant presence in the EU. 
Our industry faces a great and increasing need to attract new talent in the field of chemistry. 


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