The figures released this morning by German chemical giant BASF Group showed that sales reached €18.3 billion ($23.18 billion) in the third quarter of this year, an increase of 3% over last year's third quarter that was largely due to a sharp rise in volumes in the natural gas trading business sector. Especially heartening was the 9% rise in income from operations (EBIT) before special items, which increased by €150 million ($190 million) to around €1.8 billion ($2.28 billion), mainly thanks to the chemicals and oil & gas segments, together with 'other.' The agricultural solutions segment, by contrast, performed disappointingly, with a 75% drop in earnings.
According to Kurt Bock, chairman of the board of executive directors of BASF SE, the economic environment in the third quarter of 2014 was a "challenging" one. Not surprisingly: "Geopolitical tensions and increasing uncertainty about the global economic development significantly dampened demand for chemical products," he said during the conference call this morning.
No upturn in demand is expected in the fourth quarter of 2014, which has led the company to revise the expectations for the global economy in 2014 downwards.