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Chemical Week Magazine :: Cover Story

Europe Reels from Dramatic Slump in Demand

March 23, 2009 | IAN YOUNG

European petrochemical producers are still reeling from a tumultuous fourth quarter of 2008, when demand fell dramatically. Profitability strengthened at the end of the fourth quarter, because feedstock costs dropped versus olefins contract prices that had settled for the quarter before markets went into meltdown. But fourth-quarter petchem earnings were dented by sharply lower volumes and by expensive inventory write-downs to reflect the slump in feedstock prices. Crotty: market will be at best flat. “The downturn was dramatic,” says Borealis CEO...

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