In Brazil, production, demand and the volume of domestic sales of chemicals for industrial use grew in the first two months of 2021 compared to the same period last  year. Production had a cumulative increase of 3.96%, demand grew 11% and domestic sales increased 7.36%, according to data from the Conjunctural Monitoring Report (RAC) of the Brazilian Chemical Industry Association – Abiquim.

However, in the same period of analysis, the volume of imports rose by 22.7% and exports fell by 7.1%. Thus, the share of imported products in the national apparent consumption (CAN), resulting from the sum of production plus imports, except for exports, was 45% in the first two months against 41%, in the same period of the previous year. The utilization of installed capacity in the first two months was 74%, a point above the same period in 2020.

In the last 12 months, from March 2020 to February 2021, production grew 0.69% and domestic sales 2.82%, compared to the previous 12 months . Imports grew 22.2% and exports fell 14.8%. Thus, demand, represented by CAN, showed a strong recovery, of 13.2%, in the last 12 months over the same period immediately before. “The
drop in exports shows the prioritization given to the local market. And the maintenance of a positive rhythm depends on the economic performance, on the improvement of
the sector’s competitiveness vis-à-vis international competitors and on how the Covid-19 pandemic will impact the chemical client sectors ”, explains director of Economics and Statistics at Abiquim, Fátima Giovanna Coviello Ferreira.

The price of oil in the international market rose due to the expansion of demand, which put pressure on the price of naphtha, with repercussions on the prices of chemical products. In Brazil, this situation is aggravated by the devaluation of the real against the dollar and by the fact that most of the chemical products manufactured in the country are formed by commodities, whose prices follow these fluctuations and fluctuations. The result is that the price index for chemical products in Brazil had a real increase of 27.8% (discounting the effects of inflation in the country), in the last 12 months ended in February 2021, in comparison with the immediately previous period.

“The expectation of the sector to maintain growth is that the country will move in the direction of correcting and / or eliminating the main factors that affect or distort the competitiveness of companies. It will be essential to carry out important structural reforms, such as tax and administrative, this year. An important step was the approval of the new legal framework for gas, which now depends on presidential sanction, remembering that in Brazil natural gas costs three to four times more than in the United States and Europe. The new measures approved will still take some time to have an effect on gas prices, but they were absolutely necessary to change the direction. But now there is a need for reforms to be carried out, especially before the extinction of the Special Regime of the Chemical Industry -REIQ, which will represent an increase in the tax burden at the very base of the national petrochemicals ”, evaluates Fátima.