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 Q1 2020
Rising supply of deep-sea naphtha cargo flows from northwest Europe to Asia, combined with the crash in global crude oil prices amid the coronavirus pandemic, hurt market fundamentals. Naphtha prices fell to lows not seen in over 18 years. Weak gasoline-blending demand further exacerbated market sentiment, while naphtha’s crack spread fell to negative territory towards the end of the first quarter, underscoring the depressed market.
“Demand for naphtha in northeast Asia for petrochemical production was downbeat towards the end of the first quarter, dampened by cracker shutdowns both planned and unplanned. Poor gasoline demand in Europe dampened sentiment for naphtha as a whole, used as a blending component. Naphtha’s forward intermonth spread shrank from a backwardation to parity at the end of the first quarter, mirroring the weak market fundamentals amid demand destruction caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Updated to Q4 2019
Length in the European naphtha market recorded prior to the fourth quarter eased after the attacks on Saudi Arabia crude oil facilities towards the close of the third quarter and on strong Asian demand. The widening arbitrage window from Asia and greater volatility in the upstream Brent crude values supported upswing in European naphtha open-specification prices. Meanwhile, increased consumption rates in the US limited imports into Europe, particularly in December, lending upward push to outright naphtha prices.
Fundamentals in the European naphtha market were buoyed by interim shortage caused due to Saudi attacks which subdued the impact of slowing demand from the petrochemical feedstock and gasoline blending sectors. Continued length in the downstream ethylene and propylene sectors saw reduced consumption in the downstream markets. That said, length in the European market was largely absorbed by improved demand from Asia facing dearth of supply in the absence of consistent Saudi supply.
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.
Over 25 years of reporting on key chemicals markets, including Naphtha, has brought global recognition of our methodology as being unbiased, authoritative and rigorous in preserving our editorial integrity. Our global network of reporters in Houston, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Perth and Moscow ensures unrivalled coverage of established and emerging markets.
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.