Mideast, Asia petchem markets face quiet week amid holidays

09 September 2016 06:44 Source:ICIS News

Focus article by Izham Ahmad

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Petrochemical trades in the Middle East and Asia are expected to be subdued in a holiday-filled week starting 11 September, market sources said on Friday.

The Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha or the “Feast of Sacrifice” will be observed in the Middle East and most parts of southeast Asia.

In the Middle East, the holiday starts on Sunday and officially goes on until 13 September. Public sector workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, however, get the entire week off and many in the private sector also follow their lead. Most workers are expected to only return to work on 18 September.

“We have nine days of holidays. I am not going to trade anything until the second half of September,” a Middle Eastern trader said.

Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore also mark the Eid al-Adha holidays though they typically observe fewer days of closure compared with the Middle East.

Pakistan and India in south Asia, as well as Iran and Nigeria all mark the holiday on 11/12 September to varying degrees.

Meanwhile, South Korea and China – both key players in the Middle Eastern petrochemical food chain, either as supplier or buyer – will also have a holiday-shortened week.

South Korea is officially shut from 14 September to 16 September for the annual Chuseok, or Thanksgiving holidays. Chuseok is one of the most important festivals in Korean culture and many South Koreans travel out of the country’s major cities to celebrate with, or visit, relatives even before the official start of the holidays.

“I think it will be very quiet until after the holidays,” said one Korean source.

Major business groups in the country such as LG and Hanwha have recommended that their employees use vacation days to extend the holiday beyond the official three days, according to Yonhap News Agency.

China, meanwhile, will be officially closed from 15-17 September for the Mid-Autumn Festival, and market players may go on extended holidays during this time.

By Izham Ahmad