Continuous demand from South Korea, falling crude, support Asia’s naphtha market

Continued demand from South Korea and falling crude prices are supporting the market, as per Reuters. The South Koreans are buying naphtha for crackers and also because of lower crude prices, amid deal conclusion at higher premiums for recent tenders. Discounts on Asian naphtha crack spreads for February narrowed by 37 cents at end of last week to US$7.29 a barrel to Brent crude, the narrowest since early October. India's Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) sold a Jan. 18-20 loading cargo to Itochu at a premium of US$21/ton, 50% higher than a late-Dec. loading cargo. Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, is offering 210,000 tons of naphtha for Q1-2012 through a tender- total of 6 cargoes with at least 68% paraffin content, for loading from Mumbai from January to March. BPCL is offering 35,000 tons in March, compared to its current term. Asia's January swaps are US$14.25/ton higher than Northwest European prices. Price for front-month open spec naphtha for H2 January fell by over US$12 to US$885/ton.
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