Germany chem producers cautious on 2012 outlook – regional survey

17 November 2011 16:38  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Germany’s chemical industry is cautious in its outlook for 2012, with about half of the producers expecting to see no year-on-year growth in sales, a regional trade group said on Thursday.

Chemieverbande Rheinland-Pfalz, which represents chemical firms in BASF's home state of Rhineland-Palatinate, said its survey of member firms shows that producers are being hit by market uncertainties resulting from the eurozone debt crisis.

“We expect a dampening effect on the real economy from the turmoil in global financial markets,” said the group’s chairman, Hans-Carsten Hansen.

The risks – in particular from the eurozone debt crisis and the political struggles to find a resolution – are a worry for the chemical industry, Hansen added. Those worries are also reflected in the recent cuts in 2012 GDP forecasts by economists and governments, he added.

As for the outgoing year of 2011, many chemical firms do not expect to see big increases in profits, despite rising sales, Hansen said. The reason for this is a “significant increase” in raw material costs, he said.

Chemical firms in Rhineland-Palatinate recorded sales of €13.4bn ($18.1bn) in the first half of 2011, reflecting an 8.9% year-on-year increase from the same period in 2010.

However, for the second half of 2011, producers were already seeing a “significant flattening of the sale growth curve” compared to the strong first six months of the year, as demand fell, the group said in an update.

BASF, for its part, has previously said it has a cautious outlook, as turbulence in international capital markets leads to fears for economic development.

Analysts have warned that BASF's 2012 earnings could fall dramatically from 2011 because of deteriorating confidence in the chemicals industry.

($1 = €0.74)

Read Paul Hodges’ Chemicals and the Economy Blog

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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