European chemicals stocks hit by US’ tariff hike threat

Author: Jonathan Lopez


LONDON (ICIS)--European stock markets opened on Monday with losses as the US President threatened over the weekend to further hike tariffs further on Chinese goods.

Source: Carsten Leuzinger/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

The European chemicals major BASF’s shares were falling more than 7% by 11:30 CET as the company has a large exposure to China.

On 3 May, BASF published its first-quarter results showing a fall in profit for most divisions, but its shares had closed trading slightly up.

Other European chemicals majors were also suffering on Monday from Donald Trump’s statement on social media network Twitter on Sunday.

“For 10 months, China has been paying tariff to the US of 25% on $50bn of high tech, and 10% on $200bn of other goods. These payments are partially responsible for our great economic results. The 10% will go up to 25% on Friday [10 May],” Trump said.

“$325bn of additional goods sent to us by China remain untaxed, but will be shortly, at a rate of 25%. The tariffs paid to the US have had little impact on product cost, mostly born by China. The trade deal [negotiation] with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!”

Stock markets in Asia took a hit earlier on Monday already, as the President’s statement shoots down hopes by chemical executives globally that the trade war between the two world’s largest economies would come to prompt resolution, helping chemicals’ performance.

The CEO of US’ chemicals major Westlake said last week he was “cautiously optimistic”, echoing other executives’ comments.

Companies like Arkema (down more than 4%), LANXESS (down 3.46%), Covestro (down 3.3%) or Solvay (down 2.99%) were also being hit hard on Monday morning trading.

All major stock markets in Europe were also down, with Germany’s DAX down 2.09% and France’s CAC 40 down 2.18%.

The UK’s FTSE 100 remained closed on Monday due to the Early May Bank Holiday.

Italy’s FTSE MIB and Spain’s IBEX 35 were falling by 1.98% and 1.70%, respectively.

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