Naphtha crack turns positive in Europe for first time since March

11-Oct-10
European naphtha's crack (spread between naphtha and crude oil) turned positive for the first time since March, as per Reuters. Prices found some support from the 12 day strike at France's oil port Fos-Lavera, which could result in halting of operations in the region, shortly. Naphtha swaps crack also found support from weak weekly inventories of naphtha in independent storage at the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub. Outright prices of naphtha swaps rose to around US$738-$751/ton CIF NWE, while the crack turned positive to US$0.10-$0.50/barrel. Naphtha inventories more than halved during the week to 25,000 tons from last week’s 45,000 tons, and down from 118,000 tons in the previous year. November naphtha swaps were quoted at around US$730-$741/ton CIF NWE, with a negative crack of around US$0.65 a barrel. Historically, naphtha cracks have been positive- as high as US$8 a barrel in 2007. They dipped to negative as consumption dropped amid the economic downturn, and decreasing import demand from Asia, and have been struggling since.
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