Petronas stocks skid as oil hovers at US$40

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 11): Shares in Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) stocks traded lower in the morning session today as crude oil prices hovered at three-month lows of US$40 (RM166.31)/bbl on news of an inventory build in the US.

All three Petronas counters opened lower this morning, with Petronas Dagangan Bhd (PetDag) opening 32 sen lower before drifting further to RM20.34, down 44 sen or 2.12%. It was the biggest decliner across Bursa Malaysia at the time of writing.

Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (PetChem), which opened down three sen, drifted lower to RM5.56 before rebounding to RM5.56, still down 16 sen or 2.8%.

The two counters are susceptible to price swings, which partially affect refining margins of PetChem, while PetDag would have to clear its inventory at a lower market price.

However, Petronas Gas Bhd (PetGas), which opened 34 sen lower, rebounded to RM16.50, down four sen or 0.24%. The group is largely insulated from price changes passed down to customers.

Brent crude oil prices traded down 0.1% at US$40.02/bbl at the time of writing, coming off yesterday’s rebound and testing levels below the US$40 per barrel range.

The American Petroleum Institute reported an inventory build of 2.97 million barrels for the week to Sept 4, while the Energy Information Administration reported a build of two million barrels for the period, versus market expectations of one million barrels.

Surin Murugiah