BRIEFS

BRIEFS

GERMAN CHEMICAL SECTOR

TO RELY ON FOREIGN SALESFRANKFURT - The business situation in Germany's chemical industry this year will depend decisively on foreign demand, while the domestic economy's contribution to sales will remain poor, the industry's lobby organization VCI said.

It forecast production this year to rise from 1997 levels, but said the increase would be slower than in the previous year.

The Asia financial crisis was a ''factor of uncertainty,'' as global business conditions would remain favorable only if the crisis is contained and resolved, VCI said.

''As long as the Asia spark does not ignite other regions, such as South America, one should look at the Asia crisis as a purifying one, which corrects earlier exaggerations and misguided policies,'' it said.

SOUTHEAST ASIA DEMAND

FOR OIL SEEN UP BY 3 PERCENT

LONDON - Oil demand in Southeast Asia will grow this year despite the region's economic crisis, said Mark Moody-Stuart, chairman of the Shell Transport and Trading Co. and managing director of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group.

Mr. Moody-Stuart said he expected Southeast Asian oil demand to grow by 3 percent to 4 percent in 1998 over 1997, a slower pace than in the past. He described the demand slowdown as a ''check, but not a reversal.

''We would estimate that demand would be slowed, but overall, it's probably going to grow at something probably like 3 percent or 4 percent, rather than the higher percentages we've seen in the past,'' said Mr. Moody-Stuart, speaking after the release of the company's annual results.

However, demand has fallen in Thailand and the Philippines by around 2 percent, he said.

EU REAL FARM PRICES

DOWN BY 3.8 PERCENT IN 1997

BRUSSELS - Real agricultural prices in the European Union fell 3.8 percent in 1997, compared with 1996, according to first estimates released today by Eurostat, the EU's statistical office in Luxembourg.

Real producer prices for crop products in 1997 were 5.8 percent lower than in 1996, Eurostat said.