Tumbling oil prices boost airline counters

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KUALA LUMPUR: Tumbling crude oil prices with benchmark Brent hitting a four-year fresh low of $67.90 has lifted both AirAsia Bhd and AirAsia X Bhd counters, as jet fuel looks set to remain low-priced in 2015, opined analyst.

According to Reuters, as at 0145 GMT (+8 hours local time), Brent was down US$1.77 at $68.38 a barrel. US crude was at $64.70 a barrel, down $1.45 after earlier slipping to an intraday low of $64.10, the lowest since July 2009.

At 10:30 am, AirAsia Bhd, the third biggest gainer across the local bourse in the morning trade, soared 6.2% to RM2.74. Its long-haul affiliate, AirAsia X Bhd, gained 2.22% or 1.5 sen to 69 sen.

An airline analyst told Theedgemarkets.com that the decision made by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) last week showed some clarities on the supply chain of crude oil.

“It [The association] showed that the fall in crude oil prices is not a short term drop but a long term one,” he said.

Falling crude oil prices would result in cheaper jet fuel prices in 2015, prompting airline counters to climb today,” he added.

Despite the major oil glut that has caused oil prices to fall more than 30%, the 12- member OPEC decided to keep daily output at 30 million barrels per day  last Thursday.

Meanwhile, ailing national carrier Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) was traded unchanged at 26.5 sen in morning trade.

Khazanah Nasional Bhd, which is in the midst of taking MAS private, said in a statement last Friday that it had received no less than 28 business proposals expressing interest in participating in its five-year,12-point recovery plan for the airline.

Khazanah expects to complete the delisting of MAS and announce the leadership of the new entity (NewCo) – named Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) - by the end of this year.