Corrected: Asian shares mixed; oil comes off big gains on lingering virus fears

Author: Nurluqman Suratman


Correction: In the ICIS story headlined "Asian shares mixed; oil comes off big gains on lingering virus fears", dated 3 April 2020, please read in the fourth paragraph … the economy could contract by as much as 2% or grow by 0.5% this year ... instead of ... the economy could contract by 0.5% or grow by as much as 2% this year ... A corrected story follows.

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asian petrochemical shares were mixed on Friday, while crude oil prices came off massive gains seen in the previous session as concerns over the worsening coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on investor sentiment.

At 02:00 GMT, Japan's Asahi Kasei was up more than 2%, South Korea's LG Chem rose more than 1% while Hong Kong-listed Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical was down 1.52%.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose almost 1%, South Korea's KOSPI Composite was up 0.49% and Singapore's Straits Times Index was 0.35% lower.

Malaysia's main FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index slipped after the country's central bank on Friday said that the economy could contract by as much as 2% or grow by 0.5% this year.

Bank Negara Malaysia said that growth this year will be choked by output loss from the coronavirus, the forced restriction to movement of people and disruptions to commodity supplies.

Company/Stock Exchange % Change
Nikkei 225 (Japan) 0.98%
Asahi Kasei Corporation 2.14%
JXTG Holdings, Inc. 2.48%
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation 1.76%
Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. 1.36%
Hang Seng Index (Hong Kong) -0.92%
Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Company Limited -1.52%
PetroChina Company Limited -2.61%
KOSPI Composite Index (South Korea) 0.49%
OCI Company Ltd 1.01%
SK Innovation Co., Ltd. 1.11%
LG Chem, Ltd. 1.03%
Lotte Chemical Corporation -3.05%
Hanwha Corporation -0.63%
STI Index (Singapore) -0.19%
Wilmar International Limited -3.59%
Olam International Limited -0.70%
FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (Malaysia) -0.13%
SSE Composite Index (Shanghai, China) -0.11%
Jakarta Composite Index (Indonesia) 0.68%
PT. Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk 7.86%

Most US-listed shares of chemical companies rose sharply overnight after oil prices rallied on news that Saudi Arabia and Russia could reach an agreement on reducing oil production.

US President Donald Trump jolted the oil markets with a tweet that he expected Saudi Arabia and Russia to cut output by as much as 15 million barrels, sending crude prices spiking by as much as 35% in New York, an all-time record one-day move.

After the announcement, Saudi Arabia’s official press agency said the country was calling for an urgent meeting of OPEC+ states and another unspecified group of countries, with the aim of reaching a fair solution and to restore balance in the markets.

However, concerns over the timeline of the potential deal as well as the worsening number of infections globally fuelled the drop in crude oil prices in early Asian trade on Friday, with Brent down almost 2% and US WTI falling more than 3%.

$/bbl (At 02:14 GMT 3 April) Last change Change Net Change Close High  Low
Brent 29.37 -1.90% -0.57 29.94 29.89 28.82
US WTI 24.39 -3.67% -0.93 25.32 25.12 23.52

Crude futures have have plunged nearly 60% since the start of this this year as oil prices have collapsed both diminishing demand and mounting supply as refiners are running out of storage space.

Global coronavirus cases

1 April 2 April
Cases 827,419 900,306
Death 40,777 45,693
Nations 205 205

Source: World Health Organization (WHO)

Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman

Visit the ICIS Coronavirus topic page for analysis of the impact on chemical markets and links to latest news.

(Image: Oil tankers running on sea to export; Source: Shutterstock)