Asian petchem shares mostly up ahead of US Fed decision; oil prices rise

Nurluqman Suratman


SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian petrochemical shares rose on Wednesday as investors await the US Federal Reserve’s policy decision while oil prices rose sharply after US stockpiles grew slower than expected last week.

At 03:15 GMT, LG Chem was up more than 2% in Seoul, Formosa Petrochemical Corp rose nearly 2% in Taipei and Chandra Asri Petrochemical edged 0.28% higher in Jakarta.

South Korea’s KOSPI Index rose 0.90%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was 0.32% higher and Singapore’s Straits Times Index (STI) was up by 0.38%.

Markets in Japan are closed for a public holiday.

“The key central bank event to watch will be the US Federal Reserve’s FOMC decision today…and while the Fed is expected to keep policy rates unchanged, it could adjust forward guidance to be more explicit about how long rates will stay low,” Singapore-based UOB Global Economics & Markets Research said.

Company/Stock Exchange % Change
Nikkei 225 (Japan) -0.06%
Asahi Kasei Corporation 0.27%
JXTG Holdings, Inc. -0.24%
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation -5.60%
Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. 0.92%
Hang Seng Index (Hong Kong) 0.32%
Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Company Limited -5.38%
PetroChina Company Limited 2.55%
KOSPI Composite Index (South Korea) 0.90%
OCI Company Ltd 2.54%
SK Innovation Co., Ltd. 2.90%
LG Chem, Ltd. 2.48%
Lotte Chemical Corporation 2.25%
Hanwha Corporation 3.09%
TSEC weighted index (Taiwan) 1.41%
Formosa Petrochemical Corporation 1.72%
Nan Ya Plastics Corporation 3.98%
Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corporation 1.56%
STI Index (Singapore) 0.36%
Wilmar International Limited -0.86%
Olam International Limited 2.76%
FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (Malaysia) 0.43%
SSE Composite Index (Shanghai, China) 0.62%
Jakarta Composite Index (Indonesia) 0.34%
PT. Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk 0.28%

Overnight, both US-listed and European shares of chemical companies rose strongly amid expectations that many countries will soon begin to ease lockdown restrictions.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US has exceeded 1m, even as New York City reported a drop in the number of people admitted to hospitals.

In Europe, number of new cases in Germany fell below 1,000 for the first time in more than five weeks.

Some countries took measures to gradually return to normalcy with France planning to begin reopening shops on 11 May and French restaurants and cafes may be allowed to reopen from 2 June, while Spain aims to remove
restrictions over the next eight weeks but still keep schools closed until September.

Globally, the number of coronavirus cases has exceeded 3.1m with close to 220,000 deaths reported, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

$/bbl (At 03:28 GMT) Last price % change Net change Close High Low
Brent June 21.13 3.27% 0.67 20.46 21.4 20.53
US WTI June 13.91 12.72% 1.57 12.34 14.4 12.67

Crude oil prices rose on Thursday after industry data showed that US crude inventories rose less than expected but gains remain capped by worries over poor global demand.

US crude stockpiles rose by 10m barrels to 510m barrels in the week to 24 April, compared with expectations of a build of 10.6m barrels, the American Petroleum Institute data said on Tuesday.

With additional reporting by Tom Brown and Al Greenwood

Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman

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

(Thumbnail image: US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell; Source MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)


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