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 2019
Steady heavy cargo arrivals of western arbitrage naphtha to Asia limited a bullish upsurge in naphtha markets in the year’s first quarter, even as prices tracked upstream crude oil futures prices. Spot end-user naphtha cargo purchases were steady although not particularly buoyant, curbing a spike in spot premiums garnered. Asia naphtha’s crack spread to Brent crude oil futures at the end of the quarter were notably weaker compared to year-ago levels.
Steady northeast Asian naphtha demand for downstream petrochemicals production helped to cushion the market during most of the first quarter, while tracking movements in global crude oil futures. But cracker turnarounds moving towards the end of the first quarter limited a spike in market fundamentals amid ample supply as a whole. Naphtha’s crack spread to prompt-month crude futures were historically lower at the end of March compared to the same period in the preceding year.
European open-spec spot naphtha supply was mostly lengthy through much of Q1 2019, despite structural length being reduced by a number of planned turnarounds at refineries. Mild weather in early Q1 2019, weak demand for blending grades for gasoline and a number of cracker outages all weighed on supply sentiment, with liquefied petroleum gas [LPG] winning out at coastal crackers.
Spot open-spec naphtha demand in Europe has been varied in Q1 2019. Crackers outages, competitively priced alternative feedstock LPG and sporadic imports from the US all weighed on sentiment. However, strong demand for exports to Asia and a pickup in gasoline fundamentals in March led to balanced fundamentals as the quarter ended.
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.
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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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