The chemical industry in Germany: challenging times ahead despite a recent gasp of relief

While Germany continues to be the largest producer of chemicals in Europe with 29% of EU market share in 2012, the European Union's share of global chemical sales has fallen from 31% in 2002 to 18% in 2012. Germany has lost market share because of Asia, China being the major new force (30% of world sales in 2012, up from 9% in 2002.)

In contrast to resource-rich Middle East or the US, Germany has borne the full burden of high resources prices. Reduced energy tariffs, better resource efficiency, and a strategy supporting innovation, collaboration and specialization should help German companies to keep up with an operating margin growth rate above 10%.

The way ahead: A structural shift towards upscale specialty chemicals where Germany can have competitive advantage.