FocusAsia naphtha to ease off highs on huge deep-sea cargo flows

29 February 2012 07:59  [Source: ICIS news]

Petro Rabigh Chemical VesselBy Quintella Koh

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s naphtha prices may start to come off from 10-month highs soon, with close to 1m tonnes of deep-sea cargoes expected to flow into the region between the second half of March to mid-April, traders said on Wednesday.

Naphtha for delivery in the first half April was assessed at $1,098-1,100/tonne (€813-814/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) Japan, while prices for cargoes to be delivered in the second half of April were at $1,085-1,087/tonne, at the close of trades on Tuesday, according to ICIS.

Prices were last seen at these levels on 29 April 2011.

In Europe, naphtha was at $1,062-1,070/tonne the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) NWE (northwest Europe), while, in the US, prices of the petrochemical feedstock were at 281.50-282.50 cents/gal FOB (freee on board) barge on Tuesday, ICIS data showed.

Expectations that the current tight supply in Asia will soon ease caused premiums on sold cargoes in the region to fall from a high of $46/tonne paid on 24 February.

The biggest premium was applied on a 38,000-40,000 tonne parcel that awarded to Japanese trader Itochu by Indian Oil Corp. The cargo is for loading on 26-28 March from Dahej.

Lingering concerns about the health of the global economy that affect global crude trades, will also weight on naphtha prices in the region, traders said.

India’s Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) has awarded a tender for 20,000-25,000 tonnes of naphtha to Itochu at a premium of $40/tonne to FOB (free on board) Middle East quotes on Tuesday. The cargo is scheduled to be loaded on 27-29 March from Mumbai.

“Many cracker operators and traders have already covered their short positions, so there is less panic among buyers today,” said a trader.

“Indian producers are flooding the market with naphtha parcels via tenders to take advantage of the bullish sentiment, but I doubt that market participants will be as aggressive as in the previous week,” he added.

State-owned Indian Oil Corp, HPCL and Indian refiner Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) are among the companies looking to offload naphtha parcels this week.

HPCL has issued a tender to sell 25,000-30,000 tonnes of naphtha, for loading from Vizag, the traders added.

IOC has also issued a tender to sell 30,000 tonnes of naphtha, to be loaded from Kandla on 26-28 March.

ONGC, meanwhile, has issued a tender to sell 35,000 tonnes of naphtha for loading from Mumbai on 21-22 March.

naphtha price graph

($1 = €0.74)

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By: Quintella Koh
+65 6780 4372

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