Naphtha crack in Asia plunges to five session low


Asia's naphtha crack has plunged by 10% to dip to a 5  session low of US$54.1/ton on Tuesday as firm Brent crude weighed on the differential though spot naphtha prices were buoyed by an easing supply glut, as per Reuters.

South Korea's Lotte Chemical returned to the market to buy a naphtha cargo for H1-November delivery to Daesan at a discount of about US$3/ton or even narrower to Japan quotes on a cost-and-freight (C&F) basis. It had previously bought a cargo for the same delivery period to Yeosu at a discount of some US$4-4.50/ton. It is usually more expensive to deliver cargoes to Daesan than Yeosu, traders said. The spot prices were markedly different than the US$11/ton discount Lotte Chemical paid on Sept. 5 for cargoes arriving in the second half of October.

Separately, India's Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) sold 65,000 tons of naphtha for October loading, fetching premiums above three-month highs. BPCL sold 30,000 tons for Oct. 16-18 loading from Mumbai to Japanese Marubeni at a premium of nearly US$5/ton to Middle East quotes on a free-on-board (FOB) basis. This contrasted with US$1 discount for a cargo it recently sold to Petro-Diamond for Oct. 8-10 loading from Mumbai. BPCL sold 35,000 tons for Oct. 12-14 loading from Kochi to Trafigura at a premium of nearly US$7/ton to Middle East quotes on a FOB basis.

A unit at Royal Dutch Shell's manufacturing site at Pulau Bukom in Singapore experienced operational issues on Tuesday that resulted in flaring with dark smoke. While it was unclear what had caused the flaring, traders not related to Shell said a compressor problem at the site could have caused its cracker to shut unexpectedly. Typically, the shutdown of a large-scale cracker would impact prices of ethylene, made predominantly from naphtha in Asia.

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