European chemical producers such as BASF, Bayer and Wacker Chemie are expecting market improvements this year despite challenges and mixed results in the first quarter. BASF recorded a "solid start to 2013," said company Chairman Kurt Bock. But "economic growth would be impaired by an intensification of the debt crisis in the eurozone and the U.S. as well as by lower demand in Asia. Increasing raw material costs could also put pressure on our margins," the company notes.

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