Asia petrochemical shares tumble as oil futures plunge 7% overnight

Author: Nurluqman Suratman


SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia petrochemical shares were trading lower on Friday after crude oil suffered its worst one-day plunge overnight on concerns that stalling vaccine roll-outs globally will dampen demand.

At 02:30 GMT, Mitsui Chemicals was down 0.94% in Tokyo, LG Chem shed 3.14% in Seoul and PetroChina plunged by 5.30% in Hong Kong.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index was down by 0.85%, South Korea's KOSPI Composite Index slipped by 0.88% while the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index fell by 1.29%.

Company/Stock Exchange (At 02:30 GMT) % Change
Nikkei 225 (Japan) -0.85%
Asahi Kasei Corporation -0.08%
JXTG Holdings, Inc. -0.81%
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation 2.21%
Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. -0.94%
Hang Seng Index (Hong Kong) -1.29%
Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Company Limited -4.63%
PetroChina Company Limited -5.30%
KOSPI Composite Index (South Korea) -0.88%
OCI Company Ltd -3.33%
SK Innovation Co., Ltd. -3.03%
LG Chem, Ltd. -3.14%
Lotte Chemical Corporation 3.00%
Hanwha Corporation 0.00%
TSEC weighted index (Taiwan) -1.38%
Formosa Petrochemical Corporation -3.16%
Nan Ya Plastics Corporation -3.39%
Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corporation -3.10%
STI Index (Singapore) 0.04%
Wilmar International Limited 0.00%
Olam International Limited -1.23%
FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (Malaysia) -0.10%
SSE Composite Index (Shanghai, China) -1.26%
Jakarta Composite Index (Indonesia) -0.30%
PT. Chandra Asri Petrochemical Tbk -0.23%

Crude oil futures were rangebound on Friday after plunging by 7% overnight amid renewed coronavirus pandemic-related lockdowns in Europe.

At 02:40 GMT, US crude edged up 3 cents to $60.03/bbl and Brent crude rise 5 cents at $63.33/bbl.

On Thursday, crude futures tumbled by more than $4/bbl, with US crude futures for April delivery on its fifth consecutive session of decline, closing at $60.00/bbl; while Brent fell to as low as $62.70/bbl before closing at $63.28/bbl.

The oil market has been factoring in the fourth consecutive weekly build in US crude oil inventories, based on data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), following disruptions caused by February’s winter storm.

Oil prices have also been weighed down by concerns over fresh coronavirus restrictions in several EU countries such as Germany and Italy as new cases of infections rise.

France has also imposed a new lockdown in its capital Paris and several other regions for four weeks from 19 March to contain a renewed outbreak.

Germany and France suspended early in the week the roll-out of AstraZeneca vaccine, heightening concerns over a further economic slowdown in Europe.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) declared on Thursday that the vaccine is safe for use, after a probe on its possible side effects.

In Asia, Japan is expected to lift the state of emergency in Tokyo and Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures on 21 March, with a promise from Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga that a repeat would be avoided.

The Philippines, on the other hand, will close its borders to foreigners for a month from 20 March and restrict entry of citizens amid a sharp spike in coronavirus infections in the southeast Asian country.

Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman

Photo: Pasir Panjang Container Terminal in Singapore, 10 November 2020. (By WALLACE WOON/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

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