Europe naphtha prices rise sharply as crack firms to -$5.55/bbl

23 August 2013 13:15  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The naphtha cargo assessed price range has risen to a six-month high on a sharp hike in the naphtha crack spread, industry sources said on Friday.

The September naphtha crack spread jumped sharply from -$6.55/bbl yesterday evening to -$5.55/bbl late this morning, mostly on the back of tightening supply.

Additional cuts in European refinery run rates due to poor margins and tightening Libyan feedstock supply is behind the tighter naphtha supply, a trader said.

The run cuts are on top of the seasonal refinery maintenance due to begin next month.

Oil shipments from Libya have effectively come to a halt on the back of port strikes that began in July. In addition, crude oil output from the country has reduced considerably year on year. Libya supplies the Mediterranean with light naphtha-rich crude oil.

"The Med is a funny place. It goes from long to short very quickly," the trader said.

Independent stock data released on Thursday revealed naphtha stock levels at the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub have fallen to lows seen six months ago.

The naphtha price hike is, to a lesser extent, driven by a rise in upstream ICE Brent crude oil futures which strengthened from $109.62/bbl yesterday (15:30 GMT) to $110.17/bbl (11:07 GMT) today.

No trades have been confirmed so far at the assessed price level.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Cuckoo James
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