Asia and Middle East Naphtha Market Commentary

Emergence of more buying interest for spot cargoes in the Asian naphtha market Wednesday kept the trading sentiment lifted, although fundamentals were hardly changed, market sources said. CFR Japan naphtha physical cracks against ICE Brent crude futures were averaged at $46.36/mt last week, an uptick from $44.22/mt the week before. It was pegged higher at a notional level of $47.55/mt at GMT 0700 Thursday. SK Energy is seeking an unknown volume of heavy full-range naphtha for second-half April delivery into Ulsan. The tender closes March 13. On the paraffinic naphtha front, sources said a handful of olefins producers in Japan and South Korea have been consuming both naphtha and LPG due to the difference in the prices between the two feedstocks. LPG-naphtha spread sank back to lower terrain, at minus $74.50/mt Tuesday, after a short-lived recovery to minus $57.75/mt the previous day. Taiwan’s Formosa is seeking open-spec naphtha for H2 April delivery. The tender has closed and the results have yet not been announced at the time of writing. In Malaysia, market sources said Lotte Chemical Titan is also seeking full-range naphtha with minimum paraffin content of 77% for H2 April delivery into Pasir Gudang. The tender closes March 13 at 0700 GMT. From the Middle East region, Qatar Petroleum for the Sale of Petroleum Products, or QPSPP, is offering one clip of 50,000 mt plant condensate for April 4-7 loading from port Ras Laffan. The tender closes the same day.

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