Global Chemical Industry Outlook: Trends, Challenges, and Growth Opportunities in 2023

In 2023, the world’s chemical production (excluding pharmaceuticals) is predicted to expand by 2.0%, a less rapid rate than in 2022 (+2.2%). Once more, we expect production in the advanced economies to drop (2023: -3.0%, 2022: -2.9%). It is anticipated that growth in developing markets would moderate significantly (2023: +4.4%, 2022: +4.8%).

We anticipate significantly slower increase in chemical output in China, the largest chemical market in the world, of 5.9% (2022: +6.6%). We anticipate that the opening of the Chinese economy would result in stronger domestic demand growth, particularly in the consumer goods and health and nutrition sectors, as well as beneficial growth contributions from the automobile and electronics industries.

In the EU, chemical production should once more fall by 5.2% (2022: -5.8%), well behind the projection for Europe’s total industrial development. No significant catch-up impacts are anticipated in energy-intensive basic chemicals after the already significantly negative preceding year due to the high cost of energy. The automobile industry’s demand should be the key driver of growth. Contrarily, it is unlikely that consumer spending on both durable and non-durable items would rise. Additionally, we anticipate a further fall in chemical output in the UK (2023: -5.5%, 2022: -5.0%).

The favorable base effects that helped boost growth in the US in 2022 will fade. With the exception of the automobile, energy, and electronics industries, domestic demand will mostly remain unchanged. On account of high loan rates, a fall in demand from the building sector is anticipated. Given the decreased prices of raw materials and energy, the export demand for chemicals from Europe should continue to grow. The output of chemicals will likely slightly fall overall (2023: -2.0%, 2022: +2.3%).

We anticipate a sluggish rebound for Japan following the fall in the prior year (2023: +1.0%, 2022: -3.0%). The automobile industry is anticipated to be the main driver of growth in this area.

The predicted growth rates for chemical output in South America are substantially lower (2023: +0.9%, 2022: +2.6%). Similar to GDP, the demand for consumer products is anticipated to increase at a slow pace. However, we anticipate stronger growth in demand from the agriculture sector and demand for food to remain stable and steady but slower growth in demand from the automobile sector.

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