Saudi Arabia’s petrochemical producers reported total net profits of SR6.63bn ($1.77bn) for the third quarter of 2015, which was 21% lower than for the second quarter and 30% down on the same quarter in 2014. Lower selling prices for products were commonly blamed in quarterly results announced on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) over the last two weeks.

Sabic, the world’s second largest diversified chemicals company, reported third quarter profits of SR5.6bn, which were down by just over 9% from both the Q2 2015 earnings of SR6.17bn and the SR6.18bn profit of Q3 2014. Sabic said simply that “the decrease in net income is attributable to lower average sales prices despite the reduction in cost of sales.” Yet Sabic’s fall in profits was not as great as analysts had predicted. Sabic acting chief executive Yusuf al-Binyan told reporters that Sabic has cut operating costs by 22% in the first nine months of 2015, by improvements in production efficiency in particular. However, the linkage of petrochemicals prices to crude oil means a decline in earnings was almost inevitable, given the 50% slump in crude prices since mid-2014. (CONTINUED - 603 WORDS)