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Chemicals business is recovering but fears over profits remain

The chemicals business cycle edged upwards in 2013 and there are hopes for more progress this year

The worldwide chemicals business is continuing its recovery, with the contraction of 2012 seen to be a wobble and not the start of a new downward phase of the chemicals cycle. But, with many economies remaining weak, there is a risk that profits could be pinned down by growth in chemicals demand falling short of growth in worldwide capacity. Petroleum Economist’s latest analysis of the business, based on the results of the large chemicals companies and the chemicals subsidiaries of the major oil companies, shows that profitability overall increased from the 7.0% of 2012 to 10.0% last year. The upturn places the business back in up-cycle territory, recovering from the slump of 2008-09.  I

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