Economic Environment

Global economy

The coronavirus pandemic had a substantial negative impact on the economy worldwide in the year 2020. The global economy weakened significantly, contracting by 4.1% year over year, and posted negative growth rates in all regions. Whereas the gross domestic product in the Asia-Pacific region was down only slightly thanks to still-positive growth in China, the other regions took a much harder hit.

Economic environment








Growth1 2019


Growth1 2020
















of which Western Europe





of which Germany





of which Eastern Europe





Middle East





Latin America










North America2





of which United States










of which China






Real growth of gross domestic product; source: IHS (Global Insight), as of January 2021.


North America (not including Central America): Canada, Mexico, United States.

Main customer industries*

In fiscal 2020, automotive production worldwide was down 16%. All regions experienced significant declines. Still the largest sales market for the automotive industry, China generated a less negative growth rate of around 4%.

At approximately 2%, negative growth in the global construction industry in fiscal 2020 was somewhat less severe than in the prior year. The construction industry in North America was stable, but Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific region exhibited mildly negative trends, and growth in Western Europe and Latin America was sharply negative.

The approximately 1% growth rate in the global electrical, electronics, and household appliances industry in fiscal year 2020 was well below the previous year’s level. A key driver of the upturn was the Asia-Pacific region. In contrast, Europe and Latin America saw a substantial decline in growth rates. The North America region reported a slight drop compared with the prior year.

The global furniture industry experienced a 10% downturn with strongly negative growth rates in all regions in fiscal 2020. The impact in the Asia-Pacific region was milder, with a decline of around 6% resulting from a comparatively small downturn in China (roughly 4%).

* Covestro’s estimate, based on the following sources: LMC Automotive Limited, B+L, CSIL (Centre for Industrial Studies), Oxford Economics.