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 Q3 2019
Supply of arbitrage western flows to Asia was steady. Attacks at Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities towards the end of the third quarter boosted naphtha markets, tracking highly volatile crude oil futures. Asia naphtha spot cargoes sold into northeast Asia or out of India commanded higher premiums than before, reflecting the firm market sentiment. Naphtha’s crack spread, a measure of its refining margin, gathered strength towards the end of the third quarter, climbing to nine-month highs.
Healthy northeast Asian naphtha demand for downstream petrochemicals production helped absorb supply during most of the third quarter. Northeast Asian end-users purchased healthy volumes of November delivery naphtha shipments at firm spot premium levels. Downstream cracker expansions in part also helped to fuel demand. Asia naphtha’s market structure held in a wide backwardation, where prompt-month prices are higher than forward months, reflecting firm market fundamentals.
Supply was seen as balanced to long for the third quarter, although news of attacks on Saudi Arabia crude oil facilities towards the close of the quarter provided marginal relief. A narrowing arbitrage window from Asia and heavier-than-expected refinery turnarounds exerted pressure on the physical market, keeping prices under pressure. Overall, lower consumption rates in Europe kept stock levels high, failing to provide an upward push to outright naphtha prices.
Fundamentals in the European naphtha market remained frail in Q3 with subdued demand from both the petrochemical feedstock and gasoline blending sectors. Demand was slow from the downstream ethylene and propylene sectors due to continued length in these markets. Nevertheless, a string of naphtha buying following attacks at Saudi oil facilities turned the Asia market to Europe, lifting cargo spot premiums towards close of the quarter.
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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