As buying from South Korea increases, naphtha prices in Asia rose to a two-week high on Wednesday while cracks hovered at their highest in five weeks, as per Reuters. YNCC bought up around 75,000 tons of naphtha for H1-January arrival at Yeosu at a discount of about US$1/ton to Japan quotes on a cost-and-freight (C&F) basis. With this South Korea's spot purchases by tenders this week has totaled to at least 175,00 tons. Buying has increased as South Korean buyers could be concerned about low inventory and possible delays in deliveries ahead due to bad weather caused by the winter season. The last time South Korea saw such active volumes was in the week of July 11, where a total of 230,000 tons were bought for H2-August arrival through tenders. Until Formosa comes forward, South Korea appears to be the only market giving support to naphtha as Japan's spot demand has also been reduced due reduce runs at petrochemical units to combat sluggish Chinese imports.
The price for front-month H1-January open spec naphtha rose to US$888.25 /ton.