Demand for basic materials is softening in the last three months of 2011, particularly in emerging economies, the chief executive of Saudi Basic Industries' (SABIC) said on Wednesday.
Mohammed al-Mady, who leads the biggest company by market value in the Middle East, said however that SABIC was still on track to grow in 2012, after posting record quarterly results this year.
"Some softening of demand occurred in the fourth quarter, especially in emerging countries," Mohammed al-Mady said at a conference in Dubai.
The petrochemicals giant said in November that it expected to see moderate growth in 2012 on the heels of record quarterly results so far this year.
The chemical industry's financial health often serves as a barometer for the global economy since its products are used to produce a wide range of consumer goods, from toys and toothbrushes to smartphones and solar panels.
Many of the chemical industry's customers have been drawing down their own supplies in the fourth quarter before they refresh inventories.
Chemical maker DuPont cut its 2011 profit outlook earlier this month due to weak electronics and housing markets but said it expects to beat Wall Street's earning forecasts next year.
Mady said 2012 would be a positive year for the industry despite concerns over Europe.
"Financial results should receive a boost from industry operating rates in 2012 as new capacity comes on stream," he said.
The company reported a 54 percent rise in its third-quarter net profit in October on the back of high product prices and continued strong global demand.For all the latest industry news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.