The value of chemicals traded with France between January and December 2010 was 15.7% higher than in 2009, thus confirming the recovery which had started during the third quarter of 2009. In spite of this positive trend, the absolute value of chemicals traded during 2010 is still below the record level reached in 2008, before the onset of the financial crisis.
After falling in 2009, exports of French chemicals increased 14.8% in value in 2010, reaching a total of €48.6bn and accounting for more than 63% of the turnover for the whole chemical industry. In spite of this, the absolute value of exports for 2010 is still lower than that recorded for 2008 before the crisis: €50.4bn. The first quarter of 2010 recorded 12.1% growth in exports, quarter-on-quarter, followed by 3.7% in the second quarter, but in the third quarter, exports fell by 0.5%.
Imports also recovered in 2010, faster than exports, with 17% growth in value year-on-year, having gone down 16.4% in 2009. The total value of imports reached €43.6bn in 2010 (compared to €44.6bn in 2008), accounting for 60.5% of purchases of chemicals in France (compared to 59.6% in 2009 and 58.3% in 2008).
Higher prices for imported products, combined with a healthy level of demand from domestic markets led to very little change in the balance of trade. The trade surplus for 2010 was €5.0bn, after €5.1bn in 2009 and €5.8bn in 2008.