15 February 2013 10:19 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) prices in Asia rose to a 10-month high on Friday, driven by strong gains in gasoline values in spite of the absence of players from the key China market this week, traders said.
At the close of trade on Friday, spot MTBE prices were assessed at $1,200-1,202/tonne (€900-902/tonne) FOB (free on board) Singapore, up $7/tonne from the previous day, according to ICIS.
During open market trading, a deal was closed at $1,241/tonne FOB Singapore – a price deemed too high by some sellers and most buyers.
MTBE is used to boost the octane levels in gasoline.
ICE Brent futures had risen to $118/bbl this week, although concerns about demand following poor eurozone economic data weighed on the market on Friday. At 18:10 Singapore time (10:10 GMT), Brent crude was trading at $117.69/bbl, down by 31 cents from the previous day. 92 RON gasoline prices, on the other hand, were well above $130/bbl.
“Market now is just plainly driven by crude. Blending margins for MTBE is not there,” a Singapore-based trader said.
Gasoline blenders in southeast Asia have largely switched to using more naphtha as a blending component, as it is a cheaper alternative to MTBE.
Spot naphtha prices were at $1,072-1,074/tonne CFR (cost and freight) Japan at the close of trade on Friday, according to ICIS.
China’s markets are closed on 9-15 February for the Lunar New Year holidays.
($1 = €0.75)
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