UpdateJapan bourse leads sharp falls in Asia shares on nuke crisis

15 March 2011 10:01  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds closing index level, share prices of petrochemical firms, Asian stocks)

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japanese shares plummeted on Tuesday, dragging along other bourses in Asia, as unfolding events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant heightened fears of widespread radiation.

The Nikkei 225 index slid down by as much as 14.5% to 8,227.63 points, before settling at 8,605.15, down 1,015.34 points or 10.55% from Monday’s close, with the Japanese central bank continuing to provide liquidity to calm the markets.

The central bank offered on Tuesday to inject yen (Y) 8,000bn ($98.2bn) into the banking system following a record Y15,000bn offered in same-day money market operations on Monday, according to media reports.

Shares of petrochemical companies were battered, with JX Holdings shedding 11.17%.

JX Holdings’ unit JX Nippon Oil & Energy declared a force majeure on supply of paraxylene (PX) as three of its facilities has been shut by the 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.

Cosmo Oil logged a 9.04% decline in share value on Tuesday. Fire raged for days at the company’s 220,000 bbl/day refinery in Chiba after the deadly quake and tsunami. 

Mitsubishi Chemical shares also plunged 9.98%, while Mitsui Chemical fell 15.78%.

Meanwhile, the shares of Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) tumbled 24.67% at the closed of trade on Tuesday.

TEPCO operates the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where four explosions have so far occurred over the past four days since the fatal quake and tsunami.

The latest explosion at the No 4 cracker has increased radiation levels from the Fukushima facility that are now considered a health risk to humans, according to media reports citing a statement from the Japanese government.

A fire broke out at the No 4 reactor but was immediately put out, according to media accounts.

Residents within 20-30km of the Fukushima nuclear plant site were advised to stay indoors, according to media reports.

In South Korea, the KOSPI composite index slumped 47.31 points or 2.40% to close at 1,923.92.

In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng index was down 667.63 points or 2.86% at 22,678.25, while the Shanghai Stock Exchange index closed 40.57 points or 1.38% lower at 2,897.06.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index slipped 22.39 points or 0.6% to close at 3,896.31.

Singapore’s benchmark ST Index, meanwhile, fell 84.78 points, or 2.8%, to close at 2,946.08.

Initial reporting by Pearl Bantillo


By: Nurluqman Suratman

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