Asia petrochemical shares mostly higher; oil mixed on supply concerns

Author: Nurluqman Suratman


SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asian petrochemical shares were mostly higher on Friday after the European Central Bank (ECB) unexpectedly opted to increase its stimulus package, boosting hopes for a global economic recovery.

At 03:27 GMT,  Asahi Kasei Corp was up more than 1% in Tokyo, LG Chem rose by 3.35% in Seoul and Formosa Petrochemical Corp and PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) was up by 2.69% in Bangkok.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slipped by 0.35%, South Korea's KOSPI Composite was up 0.65% and Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI)

Company/Stock Exchange % Change
Nikkei 225 (Tokyo) -0.35%
Asahi Kasei Corporation 1.09%
JXTG Holdings, Inc. -0.91%
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation 0.21%
Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. 0.67%
Hang Seng Index (Hong Kong) 0.00%
Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Company Limited 1.00%
PetroChina Company Limited 0.36%
KOSPI Composite Index (Seoul) 0.65%
OCI Company Ltd 1.96%
SK Innovation Co., Ltd. 0.40%
LG Chem, Ltd. 3.35%
Lotte Chemical Corporation -0.52%
Hanwha Corporation 0.24%
TSEC weighted index (Taipei) 0.48%
Formosa Petrochemical Corporation 0.43%
Nan Ya Plastics Corporation -0.15%
Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corporation 0.00%
STI Index (Singapore) 0.61%
Wilmar International Limited -0.49%
Olam International Limited 0.68%
FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (Kuala Lumpur) -0.36%
SSE Composite Index (Shanghai) -0.10%
Jakarta Composite Index -0.40%
PT. Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk -1.02%
SET Index (Thailand) -0.35%
PTT Global Chemical 2.69%
Indorama Ventures 0.82%
IRPC 0.69%
The Siam Cement 1.98%
Thai Oil 1.07%

Overnight, US chemical shares were mostly higher even as the general stock market ended mixed. The S&P 500 index dropped 0.3%, the biggest drop in two weeks while the Nasdaq Composite pulled back 0.7%. The Dow Jones closed marginally higher.

China on 2 June step up financing support to small and medium enterprises, while South Korea on 3 June announced another round of stimulus worth won (W) 35.3 tr.

In Europe, bourses on Thursday recouped some of the losses earlier in the day but remained in the red despite stimulus approved by the German cabinet and the ECB.

The ECB kept its key interest rates unchanged on Thursday as widely expected, but opted for a bigger-than-expected increase of €600bn in its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) to a landmark €1.35tr and extended the program to until at least end-June 2021.

ECB president Christine Lagarde said that while there are signs of the economic slowdown bottoming, “ the improvement has so far been tepid”.

Based on ECB's updated forecasts, the euro-area economy will contract by 8.7% in 2020 before posting a 5.2% growth in 2021.

Investors are now  eyeing release of US non-farm payrolls data later on Friday.

The data is expected to show that some 8m people lost their jobs in the US in May, on top of the 20.5m in April, according to Singapore's UOB Global Markets & Research.

Asian equities rallied this week on stimulus measures rolled out across the region, with easing coronavirus-related lockdowns continuing to support investor sentiment.

China on 2 June step up financing support to small and medium enterprises, while South Korea on 3 June announced another round of stimulus worth won (W) 35.3tr ($29bn).

Oil prices were mixed amid uncertainty as to whether major producers will extend production cuts to help support oil prices.

$/bbl (As of 03:48 GMT) Last Price % Change Net Change Close High Low
August Brent 40.07 0.20% 0.08 39.99 40.14 39.72
July US WTI 37.37 -0.11% -0.04 37.41 37.46 37.05

OPEC and its allies could meet as soon as this weekend and decide whether to extend their historic production cut of 9.7m bbl/day in May and June, in July.

Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman

($1 = W1,210)

Photo: Workers make toys at a plastic product factory at Zhangjiajie in China's central province of Hunan. 27 May 2020 (Photo by Xinhua/Shutterstock)

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