Taiwans's Formosa Petrochemical Corp has returned to the spot market after a three-month absence due to maintenance shutdowns. Formosa's return is marked with the purchase of 75,000 tons of naphtha for H2-December, sourced from an undisclosed seller at a discount of around US$5 a ton to Japan spot quotes. At this price, Formosa's purchase is steeper than its last purchase of H1-August delivery parcel at minus $2.00-$2.50, on a cost and freight basis.
Formosa skipped spot purchases for September delivery, because of the extended shutdown at its 700,000 tpa No.1 cracker beyond the projected restart scheduled for end of August. Formosa also did not have any spot purchases for October and November due to the turnaround at its 900,000 tpa naphtha cracker scheduled for 45 days from Sept. 25.
Return of Formosa to the markets has bolstered the naphtha markets of Asia. Recent weeks have witnessed a slightly bearish market outlook in the absence of Northeast Asian buyers and abundant supplies from India.