Libya unrest may hit Germany consumer confidence – research group

22 February 2011 17:38  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--The political unrest in oil-rich Libya and elsewhere in North Africa and the Middle East could hurt Germany’s consumer confidence, a research firm said on Tuesday.

Rolf Burkl, senior research consultant for Nuremberg-based consumer research GfK, said the unrest in the region could jeopardise oil supplies to the west, which would, in turn, drive up energy prices and hurt consumers immediately.

However, absent those fears, the underlying outlook for Germany’s domestic consumer outlook remained favourable, Burkl said.

GfK’s monthly consumer confidence index was forecast to rise to 6.0 points in March, from 5.8 points in February, Burkl said.

Falling unemployment had given consumers “greater planning security” when deciding on larger purchases, he said.

Meanwhile, Germany’s economics minister Rainer Bruderle told media that the ongoing unrest in Libya would not jeopardise overall oil supply security in Europe’s largest economy. Libya’s share of overall Germany oil imports were a “relatively low 7.5%”, he said.

In related news, BASF’s energy unit, Wintershall, said on Tuesday it had managed to evacuate 31 people – nine employees and 22 relatives - of its international staff from Libya and was working the get the remaining international employees out of the troubled North African country.

“Intensive efforts are currently underway to get the remaining employees in Tripoli and the production facilities in the Libyan desert out of the country,” it said.

The company said on Monday it would evacuate international staff from Libya and shut down its oil production - some 100,000 bbl/day from eight fields in the country’s east.

Wintershall employs 453 people in Libya of which 115 employees are non-Libyans. Thirty German citizens as well as Dutch, Canadians and British worked for Wintershall in Libya, it said. 

Wintershall has been active in exploration and production in Libya, one of Africa's biggest oil producers, since 1958. Its onshore oil fields are some 1,000km southeast of Tripoli.

BASF’s share price was down 0.68% to €59.49 ($80.39) on Germany’s Xetra stock exchange at 17:35 local time (16:35GMT). On Monday, the shares fell 2.66%.

For more on BASF and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence
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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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