Asia faces huge naphtha exports from India, Middle East - traders

04 November 2011 05:42  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia is facing a surge in naphtha exports from India, as well as continuous high levels of shipments from the Middle East, at a time of weak petrochemical demand, traders said on Friday.

Indian refiners are estimated to raise their naphtha exports in November to 900,000 tonnes from an initial projection for 850,000-900,000 tonnes, on the back of high domestic refinery runs, they added.

For October, Indian naphtha exports were at 800,000 tonnes, up from 700,000-750,000 tonnes in September because of active refinery maintenance at that time.

Meanwhile, the Middle East is exporting a firm 3.1m tonnes of naphtha – both term and spot shipments - to Asia for November, traders said.

“There is an oversupply of naphtha,” one trader said.

Ethylene margins, based on naphtha feed, in northeast Asia fell into negative territory last week - the first time it happened since October 2009 - dragged down partly by declining prices of ethylene and co-products.

Crackers in Japan, Taiwan and parts of southeast Asia are mainly running at reduced rates of 80-90% in October, while there are also talks of impending rate cuts at crackers in South Korea this month.

 Korean naphtha cracker operators were generally running their ethylene plants at full steam in October.

For more on naphtha, visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Felicia Loo

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