Europe naphtha prices hit seven-month lows with 3-9% drop in March

28 March 2013 19:26  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European naphtha prices dropped 3-9% in March to hit seven-month lows on improving supply and weak downstream petrochemical demand, industry sources said on Thursday.

Naphtha CIF (cost, insurance & freight) NWE (northwest Europe) prices for this week stood at $883-906/tonne (€689-707/tonne), compared with $909-994/tonne on 1 March.

Naphtha prices lower than this week's were last seen at $839-889/tonne CIF NWE for the week ending 3 August 2012, ICIS data shows.

Last week, naphtha traded below the $900/tonne mark for the first time since early January.

Naphtha prices are under downward pressure from improving stock levels in Europe. Petrochemical demand is weak, while gasoline demand is holding steady.

Inventory levels have increased in March because of the closing of outbound arbitrages to Asia.

The main application of naphtha is in the petrochemical production of olefins.

Naphtha is also used as a feedstock for gasoline blending.

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