[SHANGHAI] PetroChina shares plunged on Friday, after the Chinese energy giant posted its first quarterly loss since listing overseas 16 years ago, as it struggled with the weak domestic economy and lower international oil prices.
PetroChina lost 13.79 billion yuan (S$2.9 billion) in the first quarter, reversing from a gain of 6.15 billion yuan for the same period a year ago, it said in a statement to the Hong Kong exchange late Thursday.
It was the first quarterly loss by PetroChina since it listed on the bourse in 2000, Bloomberg News reported.
PetroChina stock was down 3.89 per cent in Hong Kong by Friday afternoon and fell 1.59 per cent in Shanghai, where it is also listed.
"In the first quarter of 2016, the world economy recovered weakly and geopolitics continued to be turbulent," PetroChina said in its earnings report.
"International oil prices continued to fluctuate at a low level." At the same time, China's economic growth slowed to 6.7 per cent in the first quarter, its weakest quarterly expansion in seven years.
"An oil price rebound will help moving forward, but PetroChina just simply needs to do an awful lot more to improve the competitiveness and performance of the company," Neil Beveridge, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Sanford C Bernstein & Co, told Bloomberg.
PetroChina pumped 242.7 million barrels of crude oil in the first quarter, up 1.4 per cent up from the year-ago period, its statement said.
Another Chinese energy giant, Sinopec, on Thursday reported a 206.8 per cent surge in net profit to 6.66 billion yuan for the first quarter, even though its crude oil production fell 9.29 per cent year-on-year to 79.42 million barrels in the period.
Cnooc, another of China's Big Three energy firms and the main offshore producer, said its sales revenue tumbled 29.7 per cent from the previous year to 25.82 billion yuan in the first quarter. It did not give a profit figure.