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COVID-19 - News digest as of 21.08.2020

August 21/2020

1. Siegfried profits plummet on higher costs, sales remain resilient

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Siegfried (Zofingen, Switzerland) says net profit for the first half of 2020 shrunk 33.2% year on year (YOY) to 20.67 million Swiss francs (USD22.62 million) on revenue that was slightly lower at SFr388 million, down 1.4% YOY, said Chemweek. The fall in profit is due mainly to higher cost of sales and negative currency effects, while the more resilient revenue performance is attributed to the company"s crisis management that began in January, it says. Siegfried was able to largely maintain its production activities at all sites, it adds. Operating profit was down 24.9% for the period, to SFr30.79 million. The company has "coped well with the significant challenges posed by COVID-19," says Wolfgang Wienand, Siegfried"s CEO. Multiple national governments identified the company as a manufacturer of essential pharmaceutical products, creating the basis for the continued operation of its plants during the crisis, he says.

2. Crude prices fall amid gloomier global recovery outlook

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures dipped on Aug. 14 as a wave of reports last week painted a gloomier economic outlook with slower demand recovery as the coronavirus pandemic continued to take its toll, reported S&P Global. Despite more bullish US news this week in the form of weaker crude production and falling storage volumes, the global picture remained more bearish, with forecasts of lower-than-expected worldwide demand as the OPEC+ alliance increases its output, more US shale producers reverse curtailments and more tankers unload their stored oil.
NYMEX September WTI fell by 23 cents and settled at USD42.01/b, while ICE October Brent dipped by 11 cents to reach USD44.85/b. Crude prices have remained tightly rangebound since late June.

3. Indian Oil to fully restart Paradip refinery by Saturday

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, the countrys top refiner, will restart all units at its 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) Paradip refinery in Odisha by Saturday, reported Reuters with reference to a government official. The refinerys maintenance shutdown has been extended by a few days due to shortage of laborers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Out of about 1,400 workers and supervisors mobilized for shutdown jobs from outside, less than 400 are there, said Sangram Keshari Mohapatra, the top bureaucrat in the district of Jagatsinghpur, where the refinery is located.

4. BASF swings to net loss in Q2 on Wintershall Dea impairment

MOSCOW (MRC) -- In line with estimates, BASF SE recorded a second-quarter net loss of EUR878 million, or a loss of 95 cents per share, compared with a net income of EUR5.95 billion, or EUR6.48 per share, a year earlier, according to S&P Global. The German chemical giant attributed the loss to a noncash-effective impairment of its Wintershall Dea shareholding amounting to EUR819 million due to a weaker outlook for oil and gas prices and revised reserve estimates. Adjusted EPS fell to 25 cents from 83 cents a year ago. Second-quarter EBIT before special items plunged to EUR226 million from EUR995 million a year ago, with the chemicals and materials segments accounting for 70% of the decline. Sales fell 12% to EUR12.68 billion as global lockdown measures to contain the coronavirus resulted in lower sales volumes, particularly in surface technologies, and materials and industrial solutions segments.

5. Reduced pipeline volumes and gas processing activity hits Enterprise results

MOSCOW (MRC) --  Enterprise Products Partners" second-quarter profit slid as declines in natural gas and crude pipeline volumes and reduced activity at processing plants - due to producer shut-ins and weak NGL prices - caused revenue to plunge, reported S&P Global. The company is cutting its combined spending on growth projects in 2021 and 2022 by a total of USD700 million from its previous expectations. It is also talking seriously with a joint venture partner about helping it fund existing build-out plans, executives said during an investor conference call in late July. The cautious approach reflects uncertainty in the midstream sector about the future trajectory of supply and demand fundamentals amid the coronavirus pandemic, geopolitical tensions that could disrupt market flows and the November US presidential election that could lead to trade and tax policy changes.

6. Crude rally pauses, prices slide on profit-taking as market awaits fresh drivers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures were lower in mid-morning trade in Asia on Aug. 18 as investors took some profit and paused for fresh drivers after an overnight rally on improved fundamental outlook buoyed the global crude complex, reported S&P Global. At 10:19 am Singapore time (0219 GMT), the ICE Brent October crude futures were down 17 cents/b (0.37%) from the Aug. 17 settle at USD45.20/b, while NYMEX September light sweet crude contract was down by 19 cents/b (0.44%) at USD42.70/b. "This morning"s (Aug. 18) activity looks like some profit-taking but mostly a pause to reassess the tug-of-war between the financials and the fundamentals," Vandana Hari, Founder and CEO of oil consultancy firm, Vanda Insights told Platts on Aug. 18. "The dollar"s continuing slide is the biggest support for crude"s ascent. The growing unease that global oil demand recovery is plateauing is a counter-force, but may need to be validated by data to become a full-blown bearish pull," she added. Oil prices moved higher overnight on strong support from ramped-up China crude purchases, a faster-than-expected US economic recovery and liquidity injections from China"s central bank, or the People"s Bank of China. "Still, oil"s rally could remain capped by recent surges in coronavirus cases around the world, which never stray far from the primary demand narrative," Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp, said in a note Aug. 18. Global COVID-19 case counts continued to rise steadily amid a resurgence of infections worldwide with total cases at 21,809,170, while total deaths reached 772,479, latest data from John Hopkins University showed.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Asia, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, BASF, Enterprise Products, Indian Oil Corp, COVID-19, Germany, India, USA, Switzerland.
Category:General News
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