Japan petrochemical shares tumble as Q3 economy contracts

12 November 2012 05:15  [Source: ICIS news]

Japan petrochemical shares tumble as Q3 economy contractsSINGAPORE (ICIS)--Shares of Japanese petrochemical firms were trading lower on Monday on demand concerns, as preliminary data showed the world’s third biggest economy shrank in the September quarter because of falling exports amid the global economic slowdown.

At 12:30 Japan time (03:30 GMT), energy firm JX Holdings was down by 1.21%,   Mitsui Chemicals 2.46% lower and Mitsubishi Chemical down by 1.26%.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) maker Shin-Etsu Chemical was down by 0.77% while Asahi Kasei was up by 0.22%.

The Nikkei average was down by 0.73% at 8,693.29.

Japan’s economy shrank by 3.5% year on year in July-September 2012 and registered a 0.9% quarter-on-quarter contraction.

In the second quarter, the Japanese economy barely grew on a quarter-on-quarter basis – clocking in a 0.1% growth rate – with an annual growth of 0.7%, according to data from Japan’s Cabinet Office.

In September, the country’s trade deficit widened to yen (Y) 558.6bn ($7.03bn), with exports falling by 10% year on year and shipments to China plunging by 14% to Y953.4bn.

Japan’s economic and trade relations with China are being strained by a territorial dispute over a group of islands in the East China Sea.

All through the three months of the third quarter, Japan has remained in a trade deficit position. The deficit in August grew to $9.6bn from $6.5bn in July.

In the first half of the year, Japan's trade deficit stood at Y3,219bn – its biggest first-half deficit since record started in 1979.

In late October, Japan’s central bank revised down its GDP growth projection to 1.5% in the current fiscal year ending March 2013, from a previous forecast in July of a 2.2% growth.

In view of Japan’s continued economic weakness, the Bank of Japan decided to further expand its asset purchase programme by yen (Y) 11,000bn to Y91,000bn –which will be completed in end-2013 – in its bid to boost domestic activities.

Japan’s third-quarter GDP data weighed on other regional bourses on Monday, with South Korea’s KOSPI Index down by 0.32% at 1,898.29 and Singapore’s Straits Times Index (STI) down by 0.11% at 3,006.33.

($1 = Y79.5)

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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