UpdateChemical stocks hit hard as European share prices slump

08 August 2011 17:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Stocks in the European chemical sector were dragged further down by a sharp fall in the global markets on Monday following the US debt downgrade by Standard & Poor’s and on continuing fears over the eurozone’s debt crisis.

At 15:47 GMT the Dow Jones Euro Stoxx Chemicals index was trading down 4.53%, as shares in many of Europe’s major chemical companies fell sharply following the steep drops last week with some of the mid-sized, more specialty oriented companies hard hit.

Among Europe’s top producers, German major BASF’s shares had dropped 4.61% at 16:20 GMT, Bayer had fallen  3.52%, Dutch coatings firm AkzoNobel was down 4.61%, while France’s Arkema had plummeted 6.34%.

Belgium’s Solvay had fallen 5.22% and Swiss specialties maker Clariant was trading down a massive 8.14%. France-based industrial gases company Air Liquide was less hard hit by the market turmoil, down 1.86% while Germany’s Linde was down 3.25%. Catalysts maker and precious metals trader Johnson Matthey of the UK was down 4.98%.

The European Central Bank’s (ECB's) decision on Sunday to step into the bond markets and buy Italian and Spanish debt in order to ensure eurozone price stability appeared to have had little positive impact in an extremely nervous market environment which mirrored sentiment in Asia.

At 16:21 GMT, the UK's FTSE 100 had fallen by 1.93%, Germany’s DAX was down 2.26%, while the CAC 40 in France was down by 2.46%.

Share prices had dropped sharply in Asia on Monday. The Nikkei 225 stock market in Japan was down 2.18% at closing, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng exchange dropped 2.17% throughout the day.

The market turmoil helped drive oil prices lower.

At 16:00 GMT, Brent September futures were at $105.99/bbl, down $3.38/bbl, while September WTI was down $3.19/bbl at $83.69/bbl. Naphtha was trading around $894–902/tonne, down $1/tonne.

($1 = €0.70)

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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