The weekly ICIS Naphtha price reports are covered by local reporters in Asia, Europe and the US. News within the report can include, when applicable, Brent crude-naphtha crack spreads, arbitrage opportunities, upstream news, production issues, cracker margins and refinery reports along side the up-to-the minute pricing information. Use the report to find out which different factors are driving prices before making vital business decisions.
Updated to Q2 2021
Lower surplus arbitrage flows from Europe and the US to Asia in Q2 in part helped to support market sentiment, keeping supply availability in check. Curbs in crude oil supply as a whole also provided support to market fundamentals, fuelling Asia naphtha’s crack spread, a measure of the product’s refining margin. Naphtha’s forward market structure held firm in backwardation, with prompt-month values stronger than forward months.
Asia naphtha spot demand was largely steady during most of Q2, which aided in soaking up regional supply. In the early part of Q2, favourable downstream margins saw healthy buying activity. The launch of cracker start-ups in South Korea towards around mid-June helped to sustain buying momentum for light paraffinic naphtha, where spot cargoes continued to command premiums to spot CFR Japan quotes.
Length ruled the regional naphtha market in the first half of Q2 following a lack of demand for gas grades, increased LPG competitiveness and a closed Asian arb. Nonetheless, refinery maintenance turnarounds and reduced imports from the Baltic Sea provided some respite to surging inventories, which reached Q2 peaks at the end of April. Some regional cracker outages and availability of Iranian volumes did limit the upside.
Strength in the downstream markets continued to support naphtha consumption rates, with healthy cracker run rates amid high olefin margins aiding demand-side fundamentals. Even though rival feedstock propane was available at heavy discounts, naphtha remained the preferred feedstock. Summer-grade gasoline spec continued to pull gas grades for blending purposes with steady outflows to the US and West Africa aiding utilisation rates.
We offer the following regional Naphtha analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Naphtha marketplace.
News & analysis
ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
Our in-depth market knowledge drives our specialist focus, as we recognise the importance of individual market dynamics and not a one-size-fits-all approach.
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Commentary shows the latest market movement and weekly prices, it is a very fast moving market with lots of factors influencing supply and demand and therefore the price.
Naphtha is a light flammable liquid containing a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules typically with between 5 and 10 carbon atoms. It mainly consists of straight chain alkanes (paraffins) but it may also contain cyclohexanes (naphthenes) and aromatics.
Naphtha is produced primarily from the distillation of crude oil and is the intermediate product between the light gases and the heavier kerosene. It can also be a component of natural gas condensates, the liquid hydrocarbons contained in natural gas.
There are a number of different classes of naphtha and similar naphtha types may be called by different names. Light naphtha will normally have a higher content of straight chain paraffins and is sometimes referred to as paraffinic naphtha or straight run gasoline. Heavy naphtha usually contains more naphthalenes and aromatics and may be called N&A naphtha.
In the petrochemical industry, naphtha is an important feedstock for steam crackers in the manufacture of olefins (ethylene, propylene, butadiene) and aromatics (benzene, toluene, xylene). Paraffinic naphthas are preferred for steam crackers but heavier naphthas can also be used.
Light naphtha can also be used in industrial solvents and cleaning fluids. Applications include varnishes and paints, shoe polish, lighter fluid and fuel for portable stoves and lanterns.
Naphtha is also used to make high octane gasoline using a catalytic reforming process. This process converts heavy, low octane naphtha into high octane products.
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