Asia petrochemical shares dive on China's poor manufacturing data

23 May 2013 09:45  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Shares of major petrochemical firms in Asia slumped on Thursday, tracking the nosedive seen in regional bourses, following a report of a contraction in China’s manufacturing sector.

In Japan, Mitsui Chemicals closed 9.9% lower, Asahi Kasei Corp was down 6.74% and  Mitsubishi Chemical fell by 6.19%. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index dropped by 7.32% to close at 14,483.98.

Among other South Korean chemical firms, LG Chem was down 3.63% and Lotte Chemical Corp was 4.25% lower. The KOSPI index was down by 1.24% at 1,969.19.

In Hong Kong, PetroChina was 2.99% lower while Sinopec Corp was down by 3.27%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index shed 2.54% to close at 22,669.68.

At 4:00 Singapore time (9:00 GMT), Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical was down by 3.96% while Malaysia’s Petronas Chemicals Group slipped by 0.15%.

Investment bank HSBC’s preliminary purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China showed a reading of 49.6 in May, a seven-month low and down from 50.4 in April.

PMI is a barometer of an economy's manufacturing activities, with a reading above 50 indicating an expansion and a lower number denoting a contraction.

Weakening domestic demand as well as soft external demand pulled down May’s preliminary PMI reading, according to Qu Hongbin, chief China economist for HSBC.

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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