Asia petchem shares tumble on poor US jobs data, fresh EU worries

07 May 2012 05:35  [Source: ICIS news]

By Nurluqman Suratman

Shares of petrochemical companies in Asia fall as demand slows down in AsiaSINGAPORE (ICIS)--Shares of most major petrochemical firms in Asia fell on Monday, tracking the slump in regional bourses, on the back of disappointing jobs data from the US and fresh concerns over the eurozone debt crisis.

At 11:48 hours Singapore time (03:48 hours GMT), shares of Japanese producer Mitsubishi Chemical were down 2.74% while Mitsui Chemicals declined by 3.49%, as the Nikei 225 index fell by 2.62% to 9,134.26.

In South Korea, Hanwha Chemical Corp was down by 2.97%, Honam Petrochemical fell by 3.14% and SK Chemicals was 2.53% lower. The country’s benchmark KOSPI index was down 1.72% at 1,954.91.

Chinese refining major PetroChina was down 1.09% and Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical was 0.34% lower, as the country’s CSI 300 index slipped by 0.18% to 2,711.08.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPCC) was down by 3.76% in the morning session while Nan Ya Plastics was 2.30% lower.

In southeast Asia, Malaysia’s PETRONAS slipped by 0.9% while Singapore-listed palm oil major Wilmar International fell by 1.63%.

The stock market in Thailand was closed for a public holiday on Monday.

A lacklustre US labour market report issued on 4 May showed that April non-farm payrolls data improved by just 115,000 jobs, against a forecast of 160,000, and down from a revised figure of 154,000 jobs added in March.

The jobs gain in April was the smallest improvement in six months, according to data from the US labour department.

Voters in Greece and France challenged Germany’s austerity plan as the eurozone’s sole prescription for the region’s financial crisis over the weekend, with Francois Hollande defeating President Nicolas Sarkozy in France, said Singapore-based UOB Economic-Treasury Research.

The euro weakened to a three-month low on Monday after Hollande, who has pledged for fewer austerity measures, was elected on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Greek voters voiced their displeasure by flocking to anti-bailout political parties, leaving the two biggest parties short of the clear majority to govern the country and “potentially jeopardizing the pro-EU Greek bailout package”, UOB Economic-Treasury Research said.

“The major parties [in Greece] were trampled at the weekend polls for supporting bailout programmes that promoted fiscal austerity blamed for recession and joblessness,” added the Singapore-based DBS Group Research.

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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