13 June 2013 16:22 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European chemical company stock prices fell in line with general markets on Thursday as a result of expectations that US central bank the Federal Reserve may begin to reduce its quantitative easing (QE) programme.
Improving economic data has fuelled speculation that Federal Reserve policymakers may be preparing to dial back the level of stimulus spending it injects into the US economy, with the goal of shifting growth into a more natural cycle.
Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said in May that the bank will continue on its third round of QE, but that the programme could be scaled back if macroeconomic indicators improve.
US stimulus spending has been beneficial to other markets, particularly in light of the fragility of many economic recoveries. Skittish investors have already started to pull money out of exchanges in Asia, leading Japan’s Nikkei 225 index to close down 6.35% on Thursday.
The bleak economic news from Asia, coupled with fears over a scaleback of the US’ QE measures, weighed on European indices. The UK’s FTSE 100 index was trading flat as of 15:21 GMT, while Germany’s DAX index was trading down 0.70%.
The Dow Jones Euro Stoxx Chemicals index was trading down 0.96% as of 15:23 GMT, with shares in Belgium-based specialty chemicals company Solvay trading down 0.78% compared to the closing price the previous day, Germany-based chemicals groups LANXESS and Brenntag trading down 1.78% and 1.28% respectively.
Shares in France-based chemicals company Arkema were down 1.35% and Netherlands-based paints and coatings specialist AkzoNobel was trading down 1.24% compared to the closing price on Wednesday.
Federal Reserve policymakers meet on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
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