Asian petrochemical shares sharply lower on virus fears, IMF growth downgrades

Author: Nurluqman Suratman

2020/06/25

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asian petrochemical shares were sharply lower on Thursday amid renewed fears of a resurgence in coronavirus cases globally and after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) further slashed its growth forecasts.

At 02:53 GMT, Mitsui Chemicals was 1.27% lower in Tokyo, LG Chem was down 2.52% in Seoul and PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) fell by 3.68% in Bangkok.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Index was down more than 1%, South Korea's KOSPI Composite Index fell close to 2% and Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) was 1.30% lower.

Markets in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong were closed for public holidays.

Company/Stock Exchange % Change
Nikkei 225 (Tokyo) -1.33%
Asahi Kasei Corp -1.27%
JXTG Holdings, Inc -2.70%
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp -1.07%
Mitsui Chemicals, Inc -1.27%
KOSPI Composite Index (Seoul) -1.70%
OCI Company -2.62%
SK Innovation -1.47%
LG Chem -2.52%
Lotte Chemical Corp -2.01%
Hanwha Corp -3.48%
STI Index (Singapore) -1.30%
Wilmar International -0.24%
Olam International 0.00%
FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (Kuala Lumpur) -0.88%
Jakarta Composite Index -0.37%
PT. Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk -0.75%
SET Index (Thailand) -1.70%
PTT Global Chemical -3.68%
Indorama Ventures -5.22%
IRPC -2.92%
The Siam Cement -1.67%
Thai Oil -4.37%

Overnight, US stock markets fell sharply as investor sentiment continued to be weighed by the resurgence of coronavirus cases in several states.

Florida and California both set daily records for new cases, while Arizona reported a new high in coronavirus hospitalisations and Texas’s governor announced the state has a “massive outbreak.”

The states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will now require visitors from virus hot spots to quarantine for 14 days.

Other countries are not spared the resurgence as well, with the total number of coronavirus cases now at over 9m and deaths at 473,797, the latest update from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed.

"Countries around the world appear vulnerable to a second wave of outbreak given rising cases in Germany and the recent outbreak in China’s capital Beijing," Malaysia's HongLeong Bank said in a note.

Germany has re-imposed coronavirus lockdown measures in two northwestern districts on 24 June after local outbreaks linked to a meat processing factory surged and more than 1,550 people reportedly tested positive.

In Japan, Tokyo also reported 55 cases on Wednesday, the first above 50 print since May.

Sentiment was also weighed by the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) update to its growth forecast late on Wednesday.

The IMF now expects the global economy to shrink by 4.9% in 2020, down from its previous projection of a 3.0% contraction made in April.

The IMF also shaved the growth forecast for 2021 to 5.4% from its previous projection of a 5.8% increase, adding that there is a higher-than-usual uncertainty surrounding this forecast.

In addition, global debt is expected to rise by 18.7% of GDP in 2020, much more than during the global financial crisis (+10.5% in 2009) while the global fiscal deficit would deepen by -10% of GDP in 2020, twice than that during 2009, the IMF said.

Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman

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

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