SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia is likely to receive a lower volume of deep-sea naphtha supply in April versus March, owing to rising gasoline blending demand in Europe, traders said on Tuesday.
For March, Asia is set to receive some 1.6m-1.7m tonnes of arbitrage naphtha supply from the western markets, while the quantity fixed for first-half April arrivals so far stood at 400,000-500,000 tonnes, they said.
The deep-sea supply hails from northwest Europe, the Mediterranean, Russia and the US.
Meanwhile, for February, Asia is receiving around 1.7m tonnes of arbitrage naphtha supply, with rollovers into March delivery expected, the traders said.
Demand for naphtha is expected to soften in Asia because of heavy turnarounds at regional crackers starting this month, they said.
Hefty deep-sea inflows expected for March have led to a deterioration of the naphtha intermonth spreads and crack values in Asia in the previous week.
However, with the firming gasoline blending demand, the spreads and crack values have become stable-to-firm over the past two trading sessions, ICIS data showed.
At the close of trade on Tuesday, the second-half April/second-half May spread was stable from 17 February at $6.50/tonne in backwardation, while the naphtha crack spread improved by 83 cents/tonne to $117.83/tonne against Brent crude futures over the same period, it indicated.
The second-half April open-spec contract rose by 75 cents/tonne from 17 February to $935-937/tonne CFR (cost & freight) Japan, the data stated.