European Construction Industry Battles Headwinds in a Challenging Economic Environment
European Construction Industry Battles Headwinds in a Challenging Economic Environment

European Construction Industry Battles Headwinds in a Challenging Economic Environment

  • 22-Dec-2023 5:52 PM
  • Journalist: Peter Schmidt

Hamburg, Germany: Throughout 2023, the major economic powerhouses of Europe have been buffeted by volatile energy costs and inflationary pressures, affecting all sectors, including housing, commercial construction, and civil engineering. High-interest rates amid the intensified inflationary pressures have taken a toll on the purchasing capacities of the end-use industries. The construction industry, which utilizes chemicals like Calcium Hydroxide and Titanium Dioxide, has seen reduced activity due to weakened demand and declining projects across various segments.

Market participants have noted that the downturn in housing projects has significantly impacted the demand for Titanium Dioxide. Consequently, the construction PMI significantly dropped to 39.3 in September 2023, down from 41.5 in August. The German industrial sector, heavily reliant on affordable Russian oil and gas, has suffered significant repercussions. Anticipating a decline in procurement from the downstream market, Chemours Titanium Technologies, a leading Titanium Dioxide manufacturer, has decided to close a plant in Taiwan. Additionally, the supplement of new production capacity in China and a slowdown in the Chinese economy are expected to exacerbate the situation. Among multinational companies, Venator has faced severe consequences and has initiated voluntary bankruptcy proceedings as part of a financial restructuring.

On the other hand, the prices of Calcium Hydroxide have demonstrated an increment in the domestic market of France. In November, the price of Calcium Hydroxide witnessed a hike of USD 10 per ton. As per the market participants, the price hikes helped to offset lower business across the regional market. A substantial increase in operating costs, stemming from wage demands and inflation, has occurred simultaneously with a decrease in demand from terminal industries. Furthermore, as per the observed market scenario, some Calcium Hydroxide companies have initiated scheduled maintenance during a slack season to alleviate the pressure stemming from a rapid uptick in inventory, thereby reducing Calcium Hydroxide production. In addition, as per the market sources, France's Manufacturing PMI dropped to 42.0 in December 2023 from the previous month's 42.9, marking the eleventh consecutive month of contraction, driven by a continued accelerated drop in output. Consequently, the Calcium Hydroxide market is subdued, with producers focused on meeting existing contractual obligations and limited overall activity.

According to ChemAnalyst's pricing intelligence, the prices of the chemicals used in the construction sector such as Calcium Hydroxide and Titanium Dioxide are likely to continue on a downward trajectory in the European market. The European economy has long been plagued by inflation, and it is expected to continue disproportionately impacting market sentiments for Calcium Hydroxide and Titanium Dioxide in the coming weeks.

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