BERLIN, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) — Turnover in the German chemical industry, the country’s third-largest industry sector, is projected to decrease by 5 percent annually to 193 billion euros (213.8 billion U.S. dollars) in 2019, the German chemical industry association (VCI) announced on Tuesday.
“2019 was a difficult year for the chemical-pharmaceutical industry”, according to the VCI. Especially business outside Germany has suffered from the global economic downturn.
At the same time, domestic demand for chemical products from German industrial customers also declined.
In total, the production of Germany’s chemical industry is projected to drop by 7.5 percent compared to last year, according to the VCI.
German chemical companies were not expecting their business to improve in the coming months, said the VCI president Hans Van Bylen. “The low economic momentum will continue far into the coming year.”
For 2020, the VCI is expecting a “slight increase” in production of 0.5 percent, driven by growth in the pharmaceuticals business.
Despite the “weak economy for chemicals,” the number of employees in the chemical industry in Germany increased slightly by 0.5 percent to 464,800, hitting the highest level since 2001, according to the VCI.
Van Bylen emphasized that Germany’s chemical industry would intensify its efforts in innovation, digitization, and sustainability to arm itself against economic fluctuations or possible trade conflicts.
“Digitization offers great potential for our industry,” said Van Bylen.