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Oil stock prices tumbling and virus gets blame

Jan 24. 2020
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By The Nation

The value of Thai oil refinery stocks is tumbling and the price of aviation fuel is soaring as a result, according to KTB Securities.

Head of research Mongkol Puangpetra noted that oil stock prices plunged on Thursday (January 23). 

Shares in Thaioil Group PCL (TOP) fell 6.03 per cent by closing, the Bt54.5 – Bt3.5 less than the previous day – and total trading value Bt2 billion. 

Before the market closed, the price had dipped as far as Bt54, the lowest level in four years and three months.

JP Morgan cut the Bt80 target price of TOP by 43.75 per cent, cutting target price to Bt 45 resulting in several sell-offs.

Bangchak Corp PCL (BCP) stock closed at Bt25.75 for a 2.3 per cent decrease. 

Star Petroleum Refining PCL (SPRC) ended at Bt8.15, 1.81 per cent down. 

IRPC PCL stock closed at Bt3 or 0.66 per cent down.

Mongkol said the share prices are likely to weaken further after Goldman Sachs pinned the blame for lowered demand for oil on the coronavirus outbreak based in central China.

It’s feared the virus’ spread could drag down the price of crude oil by US$3 per barrel. The aviation-fuel market would likely be hardest hit if worries over the disease cut into air travel.

The global crude oil price continues to decline in the wake of an estimated oversupply of one million barrels per day in the first half of 2020.

Mongkol believes the sharp plunge in the TOP share price stemmed from the firm’s announced budget for the fourth quarter of 2019 was deemed inadequate, profits amounted to just Bt200 million-Bt300 million and the gross refinery margin remains low. 

The effect of these factors is now being mitigated, however, he said, advising investors to hold onto their shares.

Narinrat Kittikamponlarat of Asia Plus Securities said the refinery groups will fully recover soon from a poor 2019 due to the economic recession, which has limited demand.

She recommends caution in coming months until first-quarter progress can be analysed. After that, she said, the economy is expected to improve, along with the refineries’ performance.

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