Naphtha prices in Asia ease from 2 and a half year highs

13-Apr-11
Asia's naphtha prices eased from a more than 2-½ year high on Tuesday, with cracks holding steady and the intermonth spread at its highest so far this year on the back of strong fundamentals, as per Reuters. The impact of reversed arbitrage flows continues to be felt in Asia as some Gulf cargoes are being fixed to go West due to better netbacks. This comes at a time when most crackers which are unaffected by maintenance or outages are running at full-capacity. Some traders are not optimistic the strong sentiment can persist if high oil prices start squeezing margins. Spot ethylene prices in Southeast Asia on cost-and-freight (C&F) basis were estimated around US$1475/ton vs about US$1325/ton in early March- a jump of about 10.5% in ethylene vs a 4.5% hike in naphtha during the same period. Price for front-month H2-May shed US$13 to fall to US$1050.50/ton while cracks slipped to US$119.75/ton premium.
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