North America chemical stocks fall as Libya unrest continues

22 February 2011 20:15  [Source: ICIS news]

US chemical stocks traded mostly lower on TuesdayHOUSTON (ICIS)--Chemical stock prices plunged on Tuesday for several North American companies as unrest continued in Libya.

Dow Chemical was at $37.43/share in mid-afternoon trading, down 2.9%, and DuPont was at $54.69/share, down 2.3%.

LyondellBasell traded at $36.24/share, down 4.5% from Friday. US markets were closed on Monday for a holiday.

The declines were much steeper than the general market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 12,225.92, down 1.3%.

Westlake was the biggest winner, rising 5.4% following the release of its fourth-quarter earnings. ExxonMobil rose 1.1%.

Otherwise, nearly all companies followed by ICIS fell, with many losses exceeding 2%. Acetyls producer Celanese fell by the most - at 5.7%.

In US markets, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was trading at $91.43/bbl, up $5.23.

Reformulated gasoline blendstock for oxygenate blending (RBOB) rose 7.35 cents to $2.6248/gal during the day. Likewise, heating oil had risen by more than 9 cents/gal.

Spot ethylene offers were heard at 51.00 cents/lb, up from offers at 49.50 cents/lb.

Refinery-grade propylene (RGP) was bid at 59.00 cents/lb with no offers. Last week, RGP traded at 62.00-65.00 cents/lb.

In the benzene spot market, bids and offers both fell in the afternoon, but were still higher on the day after a spike in morning activity.

In Libya, leader Muammar Qaddafi vowed to continue fighting instead of stepping down, according to the Financial Times.

Violent clashes in Libya caused by continuing political unrest on Tuesday forced more producers to shut down, pushing up the cost of oil, naphtha and aromatics as concerns over supply disruptions spread across the market.

Tens of thousands of people have held protests across Libya, including in its capital Tripoli and the country's second-largest city, Benghazi, in efforts to force leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to step down from power and reform his government, following uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Reports have said that fighting between protestors and supporters of Gaddafi have left hundreds of people dead and injured.

(Additional reporting by Franco Capaldo, Brian Balboa, David Barry and Sheena Martin)

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By: Al Greenwood
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