14 April 2010 18:54 [Source: ICIS news]
TORONTO (ICIS news)--Most German chemical producers do not expect an improvement in business prospects this year, according to a survey by a regional chemical industry group on Wednesday.
The survey by Chemie-Verbande Baden-Wurttemberg – which represented some 450 producers employing almost 97,000 workers in the country’s south-western Baden-Wurttemberg state - found that 63% of respondents expected 2010 to be unchanged from or even worse than 2009.
Furthermore, most of the 37% producers that were optimistic about 2010 said that prospects would remain “fragile”, the group said.
Producers expected a recovery in “small steps”, largely driven by export demand, in particular from ?xml:namespace>
However, the industry would not regain its pre-crisis performance level before 2012, the group said in comments that were in line with similar remarks earlier this week by German chemical employers group BAVC.
Chemical firms expected profit on sales to average 4-5% in 2010. One in ten firms expected to record a loss and one third of the firms expected to cut jobs this year, the group said.
Key risk factors for the chemical industry in 2010 included continuing impacts from the financial crisis, an expected surge in raw material costs and a difficult market situation facing key chemical industry customers, according to the survey, which is based on responses from 107 firms employing 52,000 workers.
Commenting on the survey findings, Gerhard Schaferkord, general manager of Chemie-Verbande Baden-Wurttemberg, said it was much too early to talk about a sustained upswing in the chemical industry.
The outlook among the chemical industry’s key customers, for example the automotive sector, remained uncertain, he said.
At the same time, many energy-intensive chemical producers expected a significant increase in their raw material costs this year, he added.
The 364km (226 mile) ethylene pipeline to connect BASF’s production hub in
In fact, Baden-Wurttemberg state was a “mass consumer” of ethylene-based products, with strong demand from its auto and plastics industries, it said.
Development of the pipeline had stalled as many affected property owners had refused necessary rights of way, the group said. However, state lawmakers had finally changed relevant legislation last year, allowing the project to advance, it added.
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