Shares of Asian petchem firms fall on poor US, China economic data

09 April 2012 09:37  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Shares of major petrochemical firms in Asia declined on Monday, in line with regional bourses that have fallen for a fourth consecutive session, on the back of weak economic data from the US and China.

Investor confidence was dented after a 6 April report on US non-farm payroll data showed a gain of 120,000 jobs in March, below the forecast of 205,000 jobs.

Despite the weak payrolls, the US unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 8.2% in March, from 8.3% in February.

“But there was little cheer for the improvement as it [unemployment rate] reflected only that fewer Americans were actively looking for employment and it was not due to stronger job creation,” said Singapore-based UOB Economic-Treasury Research.

Meanwhile, Chinese shares were lower on Monday after official data showed that China’s consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose by 3.8% year on year in the first quarter of 2012, dampening expectations of more monetary loosening by the government.

China’s March CPI rose by 3.6% year on year and was up by 0.4 percentage points from February.

In Shanghai, PetroChina slipped by 0.94% while Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical bucked the trend with a 0.34% increase. China’s SCI 300 index was 0.98% lower.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was closed for a holiday.

“The orientation of [China’s] monetary policy going forward will be geared towards meeting longer term structural objectives as opposed to generating short-term growth catalysts,” said Singapore-based DBS Group Research.

“This can be implied from China’s reticence to aggressively loosen monetary policy in spite of an export slowdown,” it added.

In Taiwan, Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPCC) was down 3.92%, Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp (FCFC) was 0.35% lower and Nan Ya Plastics fell by 0.49%. Taiwan’s TWSE index was 1.37% lower.

South Korea’s SK Chemicals was 1.57% lower, Hanwha was down by 2.19% and Honam Petrochemical was 2.45% lower as the benchmark Kospi index fell by 1.57%.

Among other Japanese firms, Japan’s Mitsubishi Chemical was down 1.17% and Mitsui Chemicals was 1.65% lower. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average was 1.47% lower.

In southeast Asia, Malaysia’s PETRONAS was 0.59% lower while Thai chemical makers PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) and Siam Cement were down by 0.73% and 1.14% respectively.

Indonesia’s Chandra Asri was 3.41% lower.

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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