24 August 2012 06:08 [Source: ICIS news]
By Felicia Loo
Open-spec naphtha prices in
However, prices eased during the morning trade on Friday to $964-967/tonne CFR Japan, in tandem with crude futures, according to ICIS data.
“The arbitrage cargoes are overdone. The east-west spread is no longer workable,” said a trader, referring to the fact that it was not economical to bring European naphtha to
Asia is estimated to receive around 500,000-700,000 tonnes of arbitrage naphtha from northwest Europe and the Mediterranean in August and September, and the surplus is still seeking demand outlets in Asia as buyers are not in a frenzied rush to secure cargoes, traders said.
However, there are some pockets of demand from northeast Asia as crackers in
“There is a bit of demand out there,” said a trader, adding that fresh demand has helped improve price premiums in the latest South Korean spot purchases.
Honam paid a premium of around $2/tonne to
Honam is currently operating its two crackers at 100% of capacity.
The company runs a 1m tonne/year cracker in Yeosu and another 1.07m tonne/year cracker in Daesan.
Earlier this week before the run-up in prices,
The likelihood of a brief cracker shutdown of the Mitsui Chemicals also helped support the naphtha market to some extent, they said.
The downstream units are likely to be restarted on 25-27 August.
Meanwhile, ethylene prices were firm at $1,250-1,290/tonne CFR NE Asia as compared with $1,100-1,140/tonne CFR NE Asia four weeks ago, ICIS data showed.
China imported higher volumes of most petrochemical products in July, with significant increases seen for methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), butadiene (BD) and butyl acrylate (butyl-A), according to China Customs data.
Naphtha imports climbed by 42% year on year and 85% month on month to 243,920 tonnes in July, while BD imports grew by 711% year on year or 149% month on month in July to 34,664 tonnes, the data showed.
However, despite such positive data, the market remains wary considering the global economic headwinds, traders said.
HSBC’s August flash purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for
The flash PMI number for August was 1.7 points lower than July’s 49.5, HSBC said. A figure above 50 indicates an expansion, while a figure below 50 represents a contraction.
($1 = €0.80)
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