Taiwan’s Formosa Petrochemical to suspend spot naphtha purchases

27 October 2011 10:17  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Taiwan’s Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPCC) will continue to suspend its spot naphtha purchases because of lower operating rates at its three crackers in Mailiao, traders said on Thursday.

The persistently poor demand from Asia’s top spot buyer has weakened market sentiment at a time of falling downstream prices for key petrochemical products, the traders added.

The naphtha crack spread fell to $30.38/tonne (€21.87/tonne) versus the December Brent crude futures on 25 October, the lowest since 8 January 2009, according to ICIS data.

The oil markets in Singapore were closed on 26 October for a public holiday.

FPCC normally purchases at least 300,000 tonnes of spot naphtha each month, but has not been buying material since August this year because of cracker shutdown issues, the traders said.

The producer has been operating its 700,000 tonne/year No 1 cracker, a 1.03m tonne/year No 2 cracker and a 1.2m tonne/year No 3 unit at 80% rates since last week.

FPCC has been running the No 3 cracker at 80% of its capacity following scheduled maintenance from mid-September to mid-October.

Earlier this month, FPCC began operating the No 1 naphtha cracker at 90% of its capacity and the No 2 cracker at full capacity.

($1 = €0.72)

For more on naphtha, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Felicia Loo

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