Europe naphtha price drops to nine-month lows on weak fundamentals

10 April 2013 17:55  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European naphtha prices decreased on Wednesday to hit nine-month lows as weak fundamentals outweighed firmer Brent crude prices, industry sources said.

Naphtha CIF (cost, insurance & freight) NWE (northwest Europe) prices dropped by $7/tonne from $844-846/tonne on 9 April to $837-839/tonne on 10 April.

Naphtha prices close to this level were last seen at the end of July 2012, ICIS data shows.

Meanwhile, Brent futures for June increased by almost $1/bbl to $105.68/bbl on Wednesday from $104.83/bbl at 16:30 GMT on Tuesday.

May naphtha refining margins, or crack spread, fell sharply as a result.

The crack dropped to -$11.70/bbl on 10 April from -$10.30/bbl on 9 April.

Naphtha prices are under downward pressure from a slump in gasoline and petrochemical demand, and a rise in supply.

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

Naphtha is also used as a feedstock for gasoline blending.

($1 = €0.76)

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