Asia petrochemical shares gain on easing lockdowns; oil falls on oversupply

Nurluqman Suratman


SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asian petrochemical shares opened the week mostly higher on Monday as coronavirus-related restrictions continued to ease across the region, while oil prices fell amid a persistent glut in supply.

At 02:53 GMT, Asahi Kasei was up by more than 2% in Tokyo, Formosa Petrochemical Corp rose by 1.59% in Taipei and Chandra Asri Petrochemical gained more than 1% in Jakarta.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index was up 1.42%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index rose by 1.83% and Singapore’s Straits Times Index was up by 0.37%.

Company/Exchange % Change
Nikkei 225 1.42%
Asahi Kasei Corporation 2.55%
JXTG Holdings, Inc. 0.45%
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation 1.60%
Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. 2.61%
Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Company Limited 1.95%
PetroChina Company Limited 3.33%
KOSPI Composite Index 0.19%
OCI Company Ltd -1.59%
SK Innovation Co., Ltd. 0.10%
LG Chem, Ltd. -1.13%
Lotte Chemical Corporation -3.07%
Hanwha Corporation 1.04%
TSEC weighted index (Taipei) 1.04%
Formosa Petrochemical Corporation 1.59%
Nan Ya Plastics Corporation 2.03%
Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corporation 2.04%
STI Index 0.37%
Wilmar International Limited 1.44%
Olam International Limited 1.34%
FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI 0.39%
SSE Composite Index 0.25%
Jakarta Composite Index 1.14%
PT. Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk 1.25%

Asian equity markets took the cue from Wall Street, which rose sharply on Friday even after the weakest monthly US jobs report on record, with market participants betting the worst of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the world’s biggest economy has passed.

US-listed shares of chemicals rose 8 May as oil price rallied up amid improving US-China relations.

In Asia, investor sentiment continued to be supported by easing of lockdown in multiple countries but trading remained cautious on worries over a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Singapore has started de-escalating its “circuit breaker” lockdown, with further easing to come in phases from 12 May.

Thailand has also eased restrictions, while Vietnam continued to report no deaths since it lifted its lockdown on 22 April.

Malaysia has allowed about half of its workforce to return to work since 4 May but has extended its “movement control order” until 9 June.

The Indonesian government is considering a five-step re-opening plan to limit the economic damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Under the plan, some industries including business-to-business services and healthcare manufacturing sector will re-open on 1 June.

In Japan, stocks in Tokyo rose on Monday on expectations that the government may lift a state of emergency on many of the 34 prefectures that are not among the hardest-hit by the coronavirus epidemic before the nationwide deadline of 31 May.

In South Korea, coronavirus cases hit a one-month high over the weekend, prompting President Moon Jae-in to warn of the risk of a second wave of infections and urged the public to comply with safety precautions and rules.

China reported on 9 May 14 new confirmed coronavirus cases, the highest number since 28 April. The number includes the first in five weeks in Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak was first detected late last year.

Globally, the total number of coronavirus cases stood at 3.93m on 10 May, with 274,488 deaths, according to latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Crude oil prices fell on Monday as worries lingered over the persistent glut in global supply and the collapse in demand since the coronavirus outbreak started.

$/bbl (At 03:28 GMT) Last price % change Net change Close High Low
Brent July 30.63 -1.10% -0.34 30.97 30.75 30.07
US WTI June 24.36 -1.54% -0.38 24.74 24.75 23.76

Investors are worried that a new round of coronavirus outbreak could spark another round of lockdowns which would weigh on energy demand.

Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman

Photo: People visit a market after government lifted the weeks-long lockdown, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. 9 May 2020 (Photo by Anjum Naveed/AP/Shutterstock)

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


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