The German chemical sector federation VCI cut its 2009 forecasts on March 10 following a steep drop late last year. The group, which includes giants like BASF and Bayer, expects production to fall by 3.5% and sales to lose around 6% this year, it said.
Until now, VCI had forecast declines of 1% and 1.5% respectively.
"We think the trough has not yet passed. 2009 will be a difficult year for chemicals," VCI president Ulrich Lehner, former boss at the chemical group Henkel, was quoted as saying.
Late last year, "the German chemical industry slammed on the brakes," the federation said in a quarterly report.
Orders from industrial clients dried up and output fell by 11% in the last three months of the year, both from the same period a year earlier and from the previous quarter.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009