This report has two sections. The first is a CIA analysis of government data via the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This section assesses the UK chemical industry’s performance against that of the wider economy and is followed by a look at what challenges lie ahead. The second section presents the results and further analysis of our own Q2 2023 Business Survey.

It was clear that after a challenging end to 2022 and a slightly better start to 2023, the second quarter brought additional strain to chemical producers as more contractions in sales were reported. Most respondents experienced a decrease in input and energy costs from the previous quarter, but output prices also decreased. 

The consensus is that the third quarter will not differ significantlyfrom the second one, but almost a third of respondents expect further contractions in sales. Respondents exhibit more positivity in terms of supply chains, as roughly 30% expect decreases in input and energy costs but are still pessimistic regarding output prices and margins. Data highlights more optimism for the next 12 months, but that is related to the current levels of business, which are affected by inflation, intricate geopolitics, tight monetary policy, lack of government action, and weak demand. 

This quarter we added a challenge: ‘weakening demand’, which 58% of respondents deemed to be the main issue for the past quarter and the upcoming ones. ‘Labour cost increases’and ‘energy prices increases’ were ranked second and third, respectively. Weakening demand and the issues related to the workforce are expected to worsen, whilst raw materialsrelated challenges and energy ones to remain unchanged or get marginally improve. I would like to thank all who completed the CIA Q2 Business Survey. Thanks to their contributions, this quarter, we were able to collect responses from 60 individual companies.

Supporting documents

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