Indian Oil Corp has sold 30,000 tons of naphtha by tender for March 31-April 2 lifting to a Northeast Asian trading house at a premium in the low US$20/MT range, pegged to its’ price formula on a free-on-board (FOB) basis. Naphtha premium realsied by IOC has seen a 25% plunge in just on week following demand uncertainties caused by an extended cracker outage in Japan. Last week, IOC sold 60,000 tons of naphtha for March 24-27 loadings from two ports to Itochu at premiums above US$30/MT FOB. About 30,500-31,500 tons for March 20-22 loading from Dahej has been sold to Chevron at a premium of around S$23/MT, FOB. This was also lower than theUS$30/ton premium fetched for a cargo lifting during Feb. 18-22 from Dahej to an undisclosed buyer.
An abrupt drop was seen in prices as sentiment plunged since Monday on news that Japan's Mitsui Chemicals had to defer at least 25,000 tons of naphtha to second-half April from the first-half as its 553,000 tpa cracker in Chiba failed to restart as planned at the weekend. This came days after Formosa had successfully rolled over 35,000 tons to May from April, and South Korea's KPIC had delayed the arrival of around 25,000 tons to April from March due to adequate stocks.