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 Q4 2018
Expectation of a steady flow of excess western arbitrage arrivals to Asia in the fourth quarter did little to boost the market. Traders estimate some 1.5m tonnes of deep-sea cargoes to reach Asia in the early part of the fourth quarter, more than monthly volumes that typically average around 1m-1.2m tonnes.
End-user naphtha demand for petrochemical production in northeast Asia is expected to stay healthy. This could help soak up supply that is otherwise abundant, along with increased cargo flows expected from Europe. Seasonal year-end demand for the petrochemical feedstock is envisioned to provide market support.
Updated to Q3 2018
Market expectations of greater western arbitrage arrivals to Asia weighed on sentiment moving into the third quarter, adding to otherwise ample supply. An estimated near 1.4m tonnes of deep-sea naphtha is poised to reach Asia in the early part of the third quarter, up from average monthly estimates at around 1-1.2m tonnes.
Northeast Asian end-user demand for petrochemical production is expected to stay healthy, which could help absorb regional supply amid expectations of increased deep-sea cargo flows from the west. Steady downstream olefins demand saw a majority of northeast Asia producers keeping cracker operating rates high or optimum output.
Supply of European naphtha is expected to remain constant or slightly increased for Q3 2018. A build up of premium grades in North West Europe due to a closed arbitrage to the US could persist. The Asian arbitrage is closed from North West Europe, further boosting supply. Refineries are coming back online after maintenance season, gradually increasing supply.
Demand for European naphtha from the petrochemical industry is not expected to increase in Q3 2018. Crackers currently opt for feedstocks butane and propane over naphtha due to more attractive pricing, and there are expectations that this will continue throughout the rest of the year. Demand for lighter grades could rise if the US arbitrage reopens.
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.
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