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Chemical industry worldwide - statistics & facts

The global chemicals industry is a complex and important part of the global economy and supply chain network. The production of chemicals involves converting raw materials such as fossil fuels, water, minerals, metals, and so on, into tens of thousands of different products that are central to modern life as we know it. In 2019, the total revenue of the global chemical industry amounted to almost four trillion U.S. dollars.

The chemicals industry is as broad as ever before

There are a wide variety of products that are classified as chemical products, which can be categorized into the following segments: basic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, specialties, agricultural chemicals, and consumer products. Products such as plastic resins, petrochemicals, and synthetic rubber are included in the basic chemicals segment, and products such as adhesives, sealants, and coatings are among the products included in the specialty chemicals segment.

Global chemical companies and trade: Europe is still the main contributor

The global trade of chemicals is active and complex. In 2020, the value of global chemical imports amounted to 1.86 trillion euros, or 2.15 trillion U.S. dollars. Meanwhile, chemical exports amounted to a value of 1.78 trillion euros that year. Europe was responsible for the largest value of both chemical imports and exports as of 2020, with Asia-Pacific in second place in both rankings.

The five leading chemical companies in the world based on revenue as of 2021 were BASF, Dow, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, LG Chem, and LyondellBasell Industries. German company BASF generated a revenue of more than 59 million euros in 2020. Many of the leading chemical companies in the world have been established for a considerable length of time. BASF, for example, was founded in Mannheim, Germany in 1865. Similarly, Dow was founded in Midland, Michigan, in 1897.

Chemical consumption: Asia is the driver of growth

Chemical consumption worldwide in 2020 accounted for over 3.53 trillion euros, or 4.09 trillion U.S. dollars. Overall, regional chemical consumption is expected to grow the most rapidly in Asia during the coming years. Asia plays a sizable role in the global chemicals market, accounting for over 58 percent share of the market in 2020, but China alone is largely responsible for the recent increases in Asia’s growing exports and consumption of chemicals. In 2020, Chinese chemical consumption accounted for approximately 1.59 trillion euros. This value was close to four times the consumption of chemicals in the United States that year.

Although chemical production and consumption are important contributors to global employment, trade, and economic growth, the impacts of this industry on environmental and human health must also be considered. Many governments around the world have established guidelines or legislature to determine how to manage the transportation and storage of hazardous chemicals. Chemical management programs and international conventions and institutions also exist to properly manage the growing volume of chemicals worldwide.

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 35 most important statistics relating to "Chemical industry worldwide".

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