Asia naphtha crack spread strengthens to near two-month peak

28 May 2013 10:38  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s naphtha crack spread strengthened to the highest levels in nearly two months on Tuesday, buoyed by rising global crude oil futures.

Open-spec first-half July prices rose by $11.00/tonne (€8.47/tonne) from Monday to $877.50-879.50/tonne CFR (cost & freight) Asia on Tuesday, according to ICIS data.

The naphtha crack spread was assessed at $104.30/tonne against July Brent crude futures, up 3.2% from Monday when the crack spread was valued at $101.30/tonne, the data showed.

The crack spread is now at the strongest levels since 9 April, when the crack spread stood at $111.06/tonne, it indicated.

At 17:35 Singapore time (10:35 GMT), Brent crude futures for July contract was trading up by $1.14/bbl at $103.76/bbl.

Meanwhile, the intermonth spread between the first-half July and first-half August contract widened to $13.00/tonne in backwardation from $12.75/tonne a day ago, the data stated.

Stable-to-firm demand from Japan, Taiwan and South Korea is giving support to the market, traders said.

However, the premiums transacted in spot trades were deemed quite low given the market conditions, they added.

South Korea’s Lotte Chemical bought 25,000 tonnes of spot naphtha supply for delivery to Yeosu in the first half of July, at a premium of $10.50/tonne (€8.10/tonne) to Japan quotes CFR.

“It is tough for the traders…the fair market price is about plus $15/tonne,” said one trader.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Felicia Loo

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