April 30, 2019 / 7:02 AM / 24 days ago

Clariant expects demand to improve in China this year

ZURICH, April 30 (Reuters) - Clariant expects demand to recover in China this year after sales there fell 18 percent during the first quarter, Chief Financial Officer Patrick Jany said on Tuesday, as tariffs and a sluggish economy hit demand for speciality chemicals.

"Businesses which are more linked to GDP like plastics and coatings have suffered from the environment which has been deteriorating since the third quarter," Jany told Reuters after the Swiss company reported flat first-quarter sales.

"The weakness has been concentrated on China, which was very weak in January and February and did not restart after Chinese New Year," he said in an interview. "China has launched quite a few economic measures to bolster growth, so we expect Q2 to be significantly increased. It is turning, how fast and how long is a question, but you have probably seen the worst in Q4 of last year and Q1." (Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Michael Shields)

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