Europe base chems steady, naphtha up on crude

31 January 2007 13:30  [Source: ICIS news]

Naphtha jumps $29/tonne on crude spikeLONDON (ICIS news)--The overnight spike in crude had little effect on European olefins and aromatics prices, while naphtha jumped $29/tonne (€22.39/tonne), market participants said on Wednesday.


Brent crude surged by $2.00/tonne overnight, reaching $56.48/bbl.


As a response the naphtha market rallied to $524-527/tonne CIF (cost, insurance and freight) NWE (northwest Europe), from the previous close of $495-500/tonne.


One offer was heard for February at just below $527/tonne on Wednesday morning.


However, in contrast to the Asian market where olefins and aromatics prices rose in response to the crude spike, European prices remained so far unaffected.


Compared to Asia, there is less liquidity in the European olefins markets and therefore prices are insulated to sudden movements in crude values, according to ICIS pricing


With naphtha numbers remaining relatively low during December and January cracker margins were still seen as healthy, with little room for aggressive pricing on the back of crude.


Aromatics prices were also relatively stable, with benzene spot numbers moving up from Tuesday's close of $930-940/tonne CIF ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) to $945-955/tonne and back down to $925-940/tonne set Wednesday morning.


Toluene numbers were also out of sync with feedstock values as prices were slightly down from Tuesday’s close.


A similar situation was seen in the styrene market, where prices went down by $10-15/tonne from Tuesday’s close to $1,130-1,145/tonne FOB (free on board) Rotterdam.


In Asia, aromatics rose $10-30/tonne, with toluene offers also up $10-15/tonne.


($1 = €0.77)


By: Giovanni Coiro
+44 20 8652 3214

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