German chemical output at pre-crisis levels: VCI federation

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Germany's chemical sector has regained the level of output seen before the global economic crisis, but expects activity to slump again soon, the VCI federation said Thursday in a statement.

Production by one of the most important German industries gained 14 percent in the second quarter of 2010 from the same period a year earlier, while sales were 23 percent higher, the statement said.

Chemical groups thus "almost compensated in 15 months the collapse in output caused by the economic crisis," the federation said.

Plants are back to normal operating schedules and are running at 85 percent capacity, providing strong support for growth of Europe's biggest economy.

But VCI also warned that "the rapid growth figures are behind us" as the sector braces for weaker demand from China, Europe and the United States.

For all of 2010, it nonetheless forecasts output growth of 11 percent and an 18 percent increase in sales compared with catastrophic figures in 2009, when German suffered its worst post-war recession.

The chemical sector employs 440,000 people and includes global giants like BASF, Bayer and Henkel.

© 2010 AFP

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