Petrochemical margins hit hard in Q4 2011 - ChemSystems

13 January 2012 19:32  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Petrochemical and polymer industry margins fell sharply in the fourth quarter with the sectors blighted by economic uncertainty, Nexant ChemSystems said on Friday.

“Margins fell heavily across the globe, accelerating losses made in the third quarter,” the consultants said.

“Demand stalled as many consumers lost confidence in the outlook for the global economy and heavily reduced their stocks at the end of the year.”

Despite extensive cuts in operating rates in western Europe, markets remained lengthy while feedstock costs stayed high and petrochemical prices continued to fall from their mid-year peak.

Nexant ChemSystems' petrochemical and polymer margin index for western Europe plunged more than 40% from the third quarter to 16 (Q1 1984 = 100).

“Average operating rates across the industry were cut to just 75%, the lowest since the global financial crisis at the end of 2008,” the company said.

Average petrochemical industry margins in North America were down 15% at a two-year low. The consultants’ Middle East petrochemical cash margin index fell 12% from the previous quarter to 135 (Q1 1995 = 100).

Asian petrochemical markets weakened appreciably towards the end of 2011 as demand slowed, Nexant ChemSystems said.

Read Paul Hodges Chemicals and the Economy blog
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By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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