Robust recovery of the chemical industry

In the first six months of 2006, production in the Dutch chemical industry was up 6.5 percent on the year before. The turnover volume increased by 8 percent. This means that the chemical industry outperformed the manufacturing industry as a whole. Industrial production increased by 1 percent, turnover volume by 3 percent.

Developments in the chemical industry

Oil prices push up turnover

In the first six months of 2006, turnover in chemicals was up by 15 percent on the same period in 2005. The increase in turnover was due to an 8 percent increase in turnover volume and a 7 percent price increase.
The price of crude oil on the world market greatly influences the way turnover in the chemical industry develops. The price of a barrel of Brent Spar was on average 30 percent more expensive in the period January-June 2006. This caused a 14 percent rise in the price of raw materials.

Production value of industry, 2005

Chemicals is a major branch of industry

In 2005 the chemical industry, with 43 billion euro, had a 20 percent share in the production value of the manufacturing industry as a whole. This makes chemicals one of the largest branches of industry within Dutch manufacturing.
Two thirds of the production value consists of making basic chemicals such as ethene, propene and synthetic resin. The rest, the fine chemicals industry, concentrates on making final products such as pesticides, paint, detergents and pharmaceutical products.
The production in basic chemicals saw a remarkable growth rate of more than 9 percent in the first six months of 2006. The growth rate in the fine chemicals industry was a modest 1.5 percent.

Export mainly to the neighbouring countries

Most of the production in chemicals is exported. In 2005 trade and industry exported for 33 billion euro, excluding re- exports. The main buyers are Belgium and Germany.

Hans Draper