Asia petchem shares, crude slump as US-China trade spat escalates

Source: ICIS News


SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Shares of major petrochemical firms in Asia tumbled on Monday, along with global crude futures, on concerns over the escalating trade dispute between the US and China.

At 10:30 hours Singapore time (02:30 GMT), Japan’s Mitsubishi Chemical shares were down by 3.03%, while those of Mitsui Chemicals declined 2.89%, as the benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell by 0.99% at 22,626.07.

Markets in China and Hong Kong are closed on Monday for the Dragon Boat Festival holiday.

In South Korea, LG Chem was down by 0.54% while OCI Co was down by 2.74%, as the main Korea Stock Exchange KOSPI Index was 0.79% lower at 2,385.00.

In Thailand, PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) was down 0.30%.

Oil prices remained under pressure on Monday, with NYMEX WTI crude futures for July delivery down $1.25/bbl at $63.81/bbl while ICE Brent Crude for August was 83 cents lower at $72.61/bbl.

On 16 June, China said that it will impose a 25% tariff on $50bn of US imports in retaliation for US President Donald Trump's administration moving forward with US tariffs.

The tariffs on $34bn of US imports are set to kick in on 6 July, which will include agricultural products such as corn and soybeans.

Further duties on the remaining $16bn of US goods, including crude oil, naphtha, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and natural gas, will be released at a later date.

In the crude market, investor sentiment was further weighed down by expectations that OPEC will increase supplies.

OPEC on 22 June will meet in Vienna to discuss ramping up production levels following earlier comments by the Russian energy minister that both Russia and Saudi Arabia were in principle supportive of an increase in supply.

Picture: Qingdao container port in China (Photohgrapher: Yu Fangping/Pacific Press via ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock)