Catalysts for synthesis of MeOH and other oxygenated organic compounds comprise basic combinations of ZnO with metallic oxides of an acid character, the compounds containing at least 2 mol. proportions of ZnO to 1 of the acidic oxide. Basic chromates, vanadates, tungstates, and manganates of Zn may be used. With chromates, 3 mol proportions of ZnO to 1 of Cr oxide are preferably used. "Zn yellow" containing sulfate may be used as catalyst; and the catalyst used is preferably agglomerated with a binder such as gum tragacanth. When S compounds accumulate in the catalyst they are eliminated by heating to redness in an open crucible or by slow circulation through an oxidizing flame; this treatment regenerates the catalyst.