01 June 2012 12:22 [Source: ICIS news]
(updates crude prices, adds fifth to sixth paragraphs on Asian stock indices)
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Petrochemical spot prices in Asia tumbled on Friday, tracking sharp falls in crude prices, on concerns about weakening demand following the release of disappointing economic data from ?xml:namespace>
China, which also ranks as the second top oil consumer, reported a 2.9 percentage-point decline in its Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) to 50.4%, indicating a slowing down in its manufacturing activities.
At 18:44 Singapore time (12:50 GMT), US crude for July delivery fell by $1.72/bbl to $84.81/bbl, while BRENT crude had a steeper decline of $1.98/bbl to $99.89/bbl.
Downbeat data on oil consumption in the US and continued concerns about the unresolved debt crisis in the eurozone are keeping players across the commodities and equities markets worried over the prospects of the global economy.
Asian equities market suffered some losses on Friday, with
Shares of Japanese petrochemical majors also fell, with Mitsui Chemicals down 4.02% and Mitsubishi Chemical 2.9% lower.
The bearish sentiment rippled through the Asian naphtha market, with prices nosediving to an 18-month low of $803-806/tonne CFR (cost and freight)
The Taiwanese producer shut its biggest cracker in Mailiao, with a 1.2m tonne/year ethylene capacity, on 31 May because of weak demand and poor margins from olefins.
Meanwhile, the aromatics markets were also dragged down by falling energy futures, with benzene at a five-month low and toluene hitting its lowest level in six months.
At the close of trade on Friday, benzene prices were assessed at $1,050-1,065/tonne (€851-863/tonne) FOB (free on board)
Further downstream, the purified terephthalic acid (PTA) market was also hit. Asian PTA prices plunged to a 19-month low, with buying indications at $990/tonne
($1 = €0.81)Additional reporting by Ong Sheau Ling, Becky Zhang and Mahua Chakravarty
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