Commodities, Emerging Markets, Energy, Stocks

PetroChina Surpasses Exxon To Become World’s Largest Energy Firm

China’s largest oil producer PetroChina has surpassed Exxon Mobil on Thursday to become the biggest energy company by market value for the first time since 2010, Bloomberg reports.

As the Bloomberg chart below shows, Exxon’s capitalization was $352.6 billion through Wednesday, versus PetroChina’s $352.8 billion as of 1:36 p.m. on Thursday in Shanghai.

PetroChina Surpasses Exxon To Become World’s Largest Energy Firm

Chart courtesy of Bloomberg

PetroChina’s A shares have surged about 61 percent over the past year, versus Exxon’s 14 percent fall.

PetroChina was larger by value most recently at the close of trading on June 25, 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Shanghai Composite Index closed at its highest level in seven years on Thursday as the index has surged about 88 percent over the past year, and is the best performing major index tracked by Bloomberg, amid speculation that the central bank will continue to cut borrowing costs and on increased use of leverage to purchase stocks.

“PetroChina has multiple positives at the moment: it’s got a reform story, it’s also listed in Hong Kong, and China has more freedom for mainland fund managers in the works,” said Mark Matthews, head of Asia research and a managing director of Bank Julius Baer & Co. in Singapore. “China is also planning to transfer stakes in state-owned enterprises away from their regulator, which will on the whole be positive for SOEs.”

Global oil companies have faced difficult times since crude prices started plunging last summer. Exxon Mobil’s adjusted net income of $6.3 billion in the fourth quarter was the lowest since a loss in the final three months of 2009, according to Bloomberg data. PetroChina’s net profit was $1.8 billion in the same period.

PetroChina is the listed arm of state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), with nearly all of its operating profit coming from the exploration and production sector along with a small contribution from its natural gas and pipeline unit.

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