SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s open-spec naphtha prices firmed up to more than $960/tonne at midday, supported by strong crude gains overnight, traders said on Thursday.
The first-half March contract gained $5.50-6.50/tonne from Wednesday to $960.00-963.00/tonne CFR (cost and freight) Japan – the highest levels in eight consecutive trading sessions.
On 22 January, Brent crude futures settled up by $1.54/bbl to $108.27/bbl and NYMEX WTI crude futures for March delivery rose by $1.76/bbl to $96.73/bbl.
The overnight surge in crude futures was in response to the raised global oil demand forecasts by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Energy Agency (EIA), with industrialised nations rather than emerging economies leading the recovery from the recession.
Meanwhile, regional demand for naphtha remains strong, led by fresh requirements from Taiwan and South Korea, traders said.
The naphtha crack versus March Brent crude futures widened to $151.58/tonne on 22 January from $141.43/tonne on 21 January, while the intermonth spread between the first-half March and first-half April contracts strengthened to $13.00/tonne in backwardation from a backwardation of $11.50/tonne previously, ICIS data showed.
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