"In light of the challenging conditions, our business performed well in the first half of 2013. Our business with crop protection products contributed substantially to sales and earnings growth. Earnings rose considerably in the Functional Materials & Solutions segment. Higher volumes in the Oil & Gas segment also boosted sales and earnings development,” said Dr. Kurt Bock, chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE at the company’s half-year press conference.
At just under 2%, global gross domestic product grew more slowly in the first half of 2013 compared with the same period of the previous year. Global industrial production only rose by around 1% over the same period.
“The economic environment is and remains volatile. The European economy is shrinking slightly; the Chinese growth engine is no longer running at full power; the United States is growing moderately,” Dr. Bock noted. “We are clearly feeling these effects and are doing everything we can to maneuver BASF successfully through this challenging environment. ”
Based on the economic development of the first six months of 2013, the company’s estimates for the economic environment are more conservative than they were previously. BASF now forecasts the following for the global economy in 2013 (previous forecast in parentheses):
• Growth of gross domestic product: 2.0% (2.4%).
• Growth in industrial production: 2.7% (3.4%).
• Growth in chemical production: 3.1% (3.6%).
• An average euro/dollar exchange rate of $1.30 per euro (unchanged).
• An average oil price for the year 2013 of $105 per barrel
($110 per barrel).
Worldwide economic growth and demand for chemicals are not expected to accelerate in the second half of 2013. An uneven development marked by economic uncertainty is anticipated.
“Despite this, we still aim to exceed the 2012 levels in sales and EBIT before special items,” Dr. Bock concluded. “Achieving our earnings target is significantly more challenging today than we had expected at the beginning of the year.”