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China leads organic chemical exports

China ranked first globally in organic chemical exports in 2021, registering sales of 72.99 billion dollars, according to data from the General Administration of Customs of China.

This amount represented a year-on-year increase of 28 percent.

Organic chemistry is the study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation of carbon-containing compounds.

Most organic chemical compounds contain carbon and hydrogen, but can also include other elements (eg, nitrogen, oxygen, halogens, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur).

Originally limited to the study of compounds produced by living organisms, organic chemistry has been expanded to include man-made substances (for example, plastics).

Organic chemical

Overall, global chemical industry growth was 6.1% in 2021, almost as high as growth for the industry as a whole, even though there was only a minimal decline in chemical production in the previous year as opposed to many other industries.

Above all, China’s organic chemical exports in 2021 went to India ($10.716 million), the United States ($9.283 million), and South Korea ($4.715 million).

While the stronger performance of the previous year was mainly due to the extraordinary demand for disinfectants, cleaning agents and single-use plastics related to the pandemic, as well as the early recovery in China, in 2021, the global boom in many consumer goods industries contributed to growth.

According to the BASF company, chemical production in China, the world’s largest chemical market, experienced a particularly strong expansion (+7.7 percent).

However, growth slowed to a high level during the course of the year. Power outages had a negative effect on production, particularly in the third and fourth quarters.

Growth in other emerging markets in Asia was also high, at around 6.9 percent.

Other markets

On the other hand, the growth of chemical production in the European Union was extraordinarily high, at 6.0 percent. A contributing factor was the low base of the previous year (2020: -2.1%).

In addition, the European chemical industry benefited from the fact that the availability of global production capacities for basic chemicals was intermittently limited.

The Middle East (+6.2%) also posted strong production growth.

On the contrary, according to BASF, significant petrochemical capacities were temporarily unavailable in the United States, in particular.

After a cold snap in the first quarter, production on the US Gulf Coast was negatively affected by Hurricanes Ida and Nicholas.

Thus, in total, production in the United States only grew 1.8% in 2021. Chemical production in South America increased 4.6 percent.

 

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