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CBA News


5 November 2015

The Chemical Business Association’s (CBA) Supply Chain Trends Survey for October 2015, reports a general slowdown in activity levels with order books weakening, sales flat-lining and margins worsening.  Employment prospects, on the other hand, are reported to be improving.

CBA’s Chairman, Christopher Hayman said, “Our survey of activity levels provides further evidence of a slow-down during the last three months.  Current sales have lost their momentum and members are pessimistic about the outlook for the next three months. Whilst sales margins echo this trend, employment prospects seem to be improving.”

The following results are based on responses from 43 member companies to an on-line survey conducted during the two weeks to 23 October 2015.

• ORDER BOOKS – sharp fall in order volume
The June 2015 survey shows a sharp fall in order volume, with CBA member companies reporting a positive balance of +11%, down from +27% in the last survey in June 2015.

• SALES – current sales flat-lining; pessimistic three-month outlook
Over the last three months, sales for CBA member companies have flat-lined. The October survey shows a positive balance of +18% companies reporting higher sales,

compared with +17% in the June survey.  Companies are becoming pessimistic about the outlook for future sales, with a positive balance of +14% forecasting increased sales over the next three months, down sharply from +25% positive balance in the June survey.

• SALES MARGINS – current margins worsening; outlook flat
The October survey reveals continuing pressure on current sales margins with almost a quarter of respondents (23%) reporting worsening sales margins during the last three months. Margins are expected to remain flat over the next three months with 60% of respondents forecasting no growth.

• EMPLOYMENT – increasingly positive trend
The outlook for employment remains increasingly positive with 28% of CBA member companies forecasting higher employment levels during the next three months, compared to 17% in the last survey.

Further information from:
Peter Newport
Chief Executive Officer, CBA
01270 258200


(1) CBA’s Trends Survey asks companies to provide information on order books, sales, sales margins, and employment on a ‘better–worse–same’ basis.  To measure short-term trends, the analysis ignores all responses answering ‘same’ and focuses on the positive or negative balance provided by the difference between the ‘better-worse’ responses.

(2) The CBA represents the independent chemical supply chain.  Its membership includes distributors, traders, warehouse operators, along with logistics and transport companies.  CBA’s members, the majority of which are SMEs, are the main industry interface with thousands of UK downstream chemical users.

(3) CBA member companies employ more than 7,600 people.  They distribute, pack, and blend over 3.5 million tonnes of chemicals each year with a market value of almost three billion euros. CBA’s logistics member companies report that they handle more than four million tonnes of chemicals annually.

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