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CBA News


4 June 2015

The Chemical Business Association’s (CBA) sixth Supply Chain Trends Survey reports a weakening in both order books and sales whilst margins remain under pressure.

CBA’s Chairman, Christopher Hayman said, “Our snapshot of trading conditions for June is showing a distinct slow-down in activity levels over the last three months. Member companies are cautious about the immediate future with a declining percentage expecting sales growth and an increasing consensus that future sales margins will remain flat. Employment trends are remaining positive with 17% of respondents expecting to create jobs during the next three months.”

The following results are based on responses from 46 member companies to an on-line survey conducted in the two weeks to 2 June 2015.

• ORDER BOOKS – continuing slow-down in volume
The June 2015 survey shows a continuing slow-down in the volume of orders, with CBA member companies reporting a positive balance of +27%, down from +36% in the last survey in March 2015.

• SALES – increases in current sales slowing; cautious three-month outlook
Over the last three months, fewer CBA member companies have experienced sales growth. The June survey shows a positive balance of +17% companies reporting higher sales, compared with +29% in the March survey.  Companies remain cautious about the outlook for future sales with a positive balance of +25% forecasting increased sales, down significantly from a +44% positive balance in the last survey.

• SALES MARGINS – current margins under pressure; outlook flat
The June survey reveals continuing pressure on current margins with almost 30% of respondents experiencing lower sales margins.  Margins are expected to remain flat over the next three months with 40% of respondents forecasting no growth.

• EMPLOYMENT – jobs growth continues
The outlook for employment remains positive with 17% of CBA member companies forecasting higher employment levels during the next three months.

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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