BASF says it is still unable to forecast full-year results

Chemicals giant BASF (BASFn.DE) said on Wednesday it still could not provide guidance for full-year sales and earnings due to uncertainty over the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic in North America and Europe. The German group only said it did not expect operating profit before special items in the third quarter to improve significantly over the second quarter, citing a typical summer lull in August and seasonally lower demand for agricultural products. In a statement it cited a “high level of uncertainty and low visibility surrounding economic developments”. BASF, the world’s largest chemicals and plastics maker by sales, earlier this month reported second-quarter operating profit before one-off items fell 77% to 226 million euros (205.15 million pounds). The auto industry - the chemicals giant’s largest customer group - saw a collapse in demand in the April-to-June period, while business with ingredients for detergents and other household products was stable, BASF said. BASF as early as April withdrew its 2020 outlook, having previously hoped for a slight gain in full-year revenue. Overall chemical production, used by BASF as an indicator of future demand, was in “a V-shaped recovery” in China, where the auto market returned to 10% growth in the second quarter, but prospects for North America and Europe remained uncertain, it said.

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