Asian petchem stocks rally on hopes US recession easing

04 May 2009 11:06  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Asian petrochemical stocks tracked the sharp gains in regional bourses on Monday on hopes the US recession may be subsiding.

The ailing US economy, which is a major export market for Asian countries, may hit a trough some time in June, said United Overseas Bank senior treasury research economist Thomas Lam.

Basing his prediction on the recent data on US jobless claims, Lam said the recession in the world’s biggest economy “will probably end no later than the third quarter of 2009”.

China’s state-owned refiner PetroChina soared 8.02% and Sinopec rallied 6.91% in Hong Kong as the benchmark Hang Seng index jumped 5.54% to 16,381.05.

China, the region’s biggest emerging market economy and a big importer of petrochemicals, has also been showing encouraging signs. Industrial production there has remained on an expansion mode for the second consecutive month in April based on latest data.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) index gained 3.32% at 2,559.91, while the Taiwan Stock Exchange index rallied 5.64% to 6,330.40.

South Korea’s petrochemical majors also advanced, with Hanwha Chemical up 1.74% and SK Energy 2.49% higher as the KOSPI composite index closed 2.09% higher at 1,397.92.

Japan markets are closed for public holidays up to Wednesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore’s Straits Times Index jumped 5.6% to 2,026.93.

On Friday, data from the Institute for Supply Management showed US manufacturing activities improved in April although the reading remained below 50 points, indicating a contraction.

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By: Pearl Bantillo
+65 6780 4359



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