Marginal improvement in naphtha cracks in Asia despite weak sentiments

30-Sep-09
Naphtha prices and cracks that had fallen in Asia to eight week lows, have seen a marginal recovery. However, weak market sentiment intensified due to falling petrochemical prices as buying is sluggish ahead of the week-long holidays in China amid new supplies from the Middle East and China. In about one month, naphtha feedstock prices are down by about 12%, while spot ethylene prices plunged by 20% - falling to hover around US$800/ton on a free-on-board (FOB) basis. Hence cracker margins are being pressurized. In a recent deal, LG Chem bought 75,000 tons of open-spec grade for H1-November arrival at a discount of US$2/ton to Japan spot quotes on a cost-and-freight (C&F) basis from Trafigura, Sempra and Mitsui.
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