Asia naphtha hits highest since early Apr on firm C2, crude prices

09 July 2013 11:08  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s naphtha prices have strengthened, rising to their highest levels in more than three months at the close of trade on Tuesday, buoyed by firmer downstream ethylene (C2) prices and overall gains in crude oil futures, traders said.

The second-half August open-spec contract rose by $7.00/tonne (€5.46/tonne) from Monday to $898.50-900.50/tonne CFR (cost & freight) on Tuesday, according to ICIS data.

This followed a physical trade, whereby a first-half September contract changed hands at $896.00/tonne CFR Japan from trading firm Glencore to State Oil Co of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), traders said.

Prices are now at their highest levels since 3 April this year, when prices closed at $911.00-913.00/tonne CFR Japan, ICIS data indicated.

The August Brent crude futures were higher at $107.27/tonne at the close of Asian trading on Tuesday, up from $106.93/tonne on Monday.

Meanwhile, northeast Asian ethylene prices rose by $20/tonne at the upper range on 8 July to $1,260-1,300/tonne CFR basis, compared with $1,200-1,220/tonne four weeks ago, according to ICIS.

The naphtha backwardation widened to $7.00/tonne for the contracts between the second half of August and the second half of September on Tuesday, compared with $6.00/tonne in backwardation on Monday, it showed.

The naphtha crack spread gained 4.9% to $94.98/tonne against August Brent crude futures over the same period, ICIS data showed.

Traders in Asia are holding back naphtha barrels with a view that spot differentials would improve as some of the downstream petrochemical markets remained well supported.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Felicia Loo

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