10 August 2007 11:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--Rocketing European butane values have seen large cargoes traded above naphtha at a record high of $635/tonne due to tight supply and exports to the US, buyers and sellers said on Friday.?xml:namespace>
“The butane cargo market is extremely tight at the moment,” the source added. “There has been a lot of export to the ?xml:namespace>
Buy- and sell-side sources in the butane market said that they had seen one 8,600 tonne cargo sold for $635/tonne (€464/tonne) CIF (cost, insurance and freight) northwest Europe (NWE) late on Thursday, a record high value according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.
The previous all-time high was an assessment of $610-620/tonne CIF NWE recorded on 13 July.
Naphtha traded at $625-629/tonne CIF NWE on Thursday, $5-10/tonne below butane.
Butane can be exchanged for naphtha in the cracking process, and is often seen as an economical necessity when naphtha is traded at high values as it had been over the past several months, according to industry sources.
Naphtha, however, has seen a fall from the $700s/tonne to around $620-625/tonne CIF NWE. That butane should continue to firm surprised many in the market, which several buyers and sellers described as erratic, citing difficulties at refineries in the
One trader said that petrochemical demand for butane would not diminish instantly, despite its premium over naphtha.
“Once you have started using butane for cracking you cannot simply stop," he said. "There has to be a slowdown period, and demand will continue until it is possible to use only naphtha.”
($1 = €0.73)
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