Early results from two of the world’s largest chemical companies indicate that the industry is rebounding strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic and should maintain momentum for the rest of the year.
Dow is the first major chemical firm to post full second-quarter results. The company’s sales vaulted 66.2% versus the same quarter last year, the quarter most impacted by the pandemic lockdowns. Earnings for the period hit $2.1 billion, versus a loss of $189 million in 2020. Sales increased 42.2% in the first half of 2021, while earnings increased 1,134.0%.BASF, the world’s largest chemical maker, posted preliminary results. Its sales increased by 55.8% in the second quarter and 33.0% in the first half. Earnings before taxes increased 942.0% in the quarter and 22.8% in the first 6 months.In a conference call with analysts on July 22, Dow CEO Jim Fitterling boasted of the “strongest quarterly earnings performance in the company’s history.”Dow’s largest segment, packaging and specialty plastics, saw a 78% sales increase during the quarter, mostly due to higher prices and strong performance in its petrochemical unit. Plastics sales volumes actually declined somewhat due to the lingering effects of the February freeze in Texas and planned plant maintenance. Dow’s other businesses, such as coating materials and polyurethanes, also posted strong gains.
This is continued good news for chemical employment, I think.