Naphtha prices rebound despite demand uncertainties in Asia

Despite uncertainties in demand from Japan, following Mitsui Chemicals' cracker outage, naphtha prices as well as cracks have rebounded in Asia. Interestingly, ethylene supplies continue to grow with the start up of new crackers in Singapore and Thailand. Though demand from South Korea continues to be firm, it has been balanced by the shutdown of Mitsui Chemicals cracker in Chiba where cargoes had to rolled-over. South Korea's Honam bought 50,000 tons of naphtha for H2-April arrival at a premium of US$3.50-3.75/MT to Japan spot quotes on a cost-and-freight (C&F) basis. This premium is reduced to one-fourth of what was paid on March 2 for 25,000 tons at US$14/ton, C&F. At least one Asian buyer has accepted one of the three naphtha grades that ADNOC offered for April 2010-March 2011 supplies, at US$23.50-$25.50/ton above Middle East quotes, free-on-board (FOB) basis. Another buyer will however roll over its volumes from April-March supplies to its July 2010-June 2011 contract, as ADNOC does not have export volume in second-quarter.
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