Naphtha East-West differential rises to five-month high

The naphtha East-West (EW) differential rose by three dollars in early Tuesday trade and hit a five-month high as more western volumes are pulled into Asia on robust demand from petrochemical makers. The January EW contract, the differential between Asia and Europe prices, rose to US$14.25/ton, the highest since Aug. 3, 2012, according to Reuters. Chinese demand for petrochemicals that has strengthened ahead of the Lunar New Year festivities in February as manufacturers ramp up production, is expected to taper off towards the end of January. Naphtha January/February inter-month premium dropped by a dollar to a US$12 backwardation, while the February/March timespread held steady at backwardation of US$13/ton.
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