US chem stocks rise as oil recovery continues
HOUSTON (ICIS)–US-listed shares of chemical companies rose again on Friday as oil futures continued to recover.
Brent futures rose half a percentage point to close at $21.44/bbl from $21.33/bbl.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose 2.67% to close at $16.94/bbl, up from $16.50/bbl.
Prices for plastics and chemicals tend to rise and fall with those for oil.
For US chemical producers, higher oil prices can expand their margins because they rely overwhelmingly on ethane and other natural gas liquids (NGLs) as feedstock. Much of the world relies on oil-based naphtha.
The table below shows the major stock indices followed by ICIS.
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||23,775.27||260.01||1.11|
|Dow Jones US Chemicals Index||510.72||8.29||1.65|
|S&P 500 Chemicals Industry Index||515.03||8.16||1.61|
The table below shows the US-listed companies followed by ICIS.
|$ Change||% Change|
|Axalta Coating Systems||18.48||0.23||1.23|
In US chemical markets, a butadiene (BD) producer nominated May contracts at a decline as coronavirus has slowed demand to a crawl while costs remain low.
BD is used to make styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), which goes into tyres.
The US Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) projects a steep decline in tyre shipments from 2019.
Meanwhile, US April contracts for ethylene glycol (EG) fell.
In Brazil, the stock market fell and the currency weakened following news that Sergio Moro resigned as the minister of justice.
Moro was formerly a federal judge who gained prominence during the Lava Jato corruption cases.
Moro resigned to protest the dismissal of the general director of the Brazilian federal police, Mauricio Valeixo, the New York Times reported. Moro accused Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro of meddling in the affairs of the federal police.
Bolsonaro responded by saying that he will speak later in the day to “re-establish the truth about the dismissal at the request of Valeixo as well as Sergio Moro”.
Moro is the second minister to leave Bolsonaro’s administration.
Earlier in the montbh, Henrique Mandetta left as minister of health.
His departure came while the country is in the midst of the epidemic.
The country has 49,492 cases confirmed and 3,313 fatalities, according to the Health Ministry.
Brazil’s main stock index, the Ibovespa, fell by 5.84% to reach 75,018.60. The currency reached reais (R)5.68 to the dollar. At the start of the year, it was less than R4.00.
In Europe, chemical shares fell.
French industrial gases producer Air Liquide recorded sales falling by more than 1%, while Italian producer Versalis marked an operating loss of €65m.
In Asia, most shares of petrochemical companies fell amid weak demand, despite a rally in oil futures.
Focus article by Al Greenwood
Additional reporting by Amanda Hay, Antoinette Smith, Morgan Condon and Pearl Bantillo
Visit the ICIS coronavirus topic page for analysis of the impact on chemical markets and links to latest news.
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