Economic Outlook

Economic Outlook










Growth1 2018


Growth1 forecast 2019 (Annual Report 2018)


Growth1 forecast 2019









Real growth of gross domestic product; source: IHS (Global Insight), Growth 2018 and Growth forecast 2019 as of April 2019








European Union







of which Germany














of which United States














of which China







In 2019, we expect weaker global economic growth than in the previous year at 2.6%. Our current assessment of the macroeconomic environment and of developments in the individual regions is therefore slightly weaker than our outlook in the Annual Report 2018.

Compared with our expectations from the Annual Report 2018, we so far see only minor changes, or none at all, for the performance of our main customer industries, with the exception of the automotive sector, assuming no further global trade barriers. Growth in the automotive industry is anticipated to be weaker than presented in the Annual Report 2018.

Forecast for Key Data

On the basis of the business performance described in this quarterly statement and with consideration of the potential associated risks and opportunities, we confirm the forecast made in the Annual Report 2018 for the rest of the 2019 fiscal year.

We expect core volume growth in the low-to-mid-single-digit-percentage range. This projection applies to the Covestro Group as well as to the Polyurethanes, Polycarbonates and Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties segments.

In fiscal 2019, we anticipate free operating cash flow (FOCF) of between €300 million and €700 million. For the Polyurethanes segment, we assume an increase in cash outflows for additions to property, plant, equipment and intangible assets that will exceed the expected operating cash flows. FOCF is anticipated to decline in the Polycarbonates segment as well, although the trend here will likely be much more positive than for the Group as a whole. For the Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties segment, we expect FOCF around the prior-year level.

For fiscal 2019, we expect ROCE1 of between 8% and 13%.

1 ROCE: The return on capital employed is calculated as the ratio of EBIT after taxes to capital employed. Capital employed is the capital used by the company. It is the sum of current and noncurrent assets less noninterest-bearing liabilities such as trade accounts payable.