Naphtha in Asia recovers from near 18 month low to a two-session high as Brent crude strengthens

Naphtha prices in Asia recovered from a near 1-1/2 year low on Friday to a two-session high mainly on strong Brent crude, but intermonth premiums persisted at US$5/ton for the fourth consecutive session, down almost 75% from last month, as per Reuters. Asia’s naphtha market is plagued by weak demand, with petrochemical makers mostly shunning spot purchases. Only Honam Petrochemical is buying H1-July cargoes through a tender. ADNOC has trimmed offers for naphtha lifting from July 2012 to June 2013 by two dollars to US$26- 27.50/ton premiums to its own price formula. Offer price was trimmed due to resistance from buyers to whom record high offers were unacceptable at a time when the petrochemicals sector is surrounded by uncertainties. Interestingly, Saudi Aramco sealed its half-year contracts with buyers at record premiums of US$25-33/ton to its own price Formula, possibly due to the lower volumes Aramco offered for this term. Market players opine that the Saudi major is likely to do more spot business partly due to the belief that they have lost out on the high premiums seen in the first five months of 2012. Qatar's Tasweeq has also inked a one-year deal at high premiums of about US$35/ton to its own price formula with buyer Arcadia for gas-to-liquid (GTL) naphtha. Arcadia will lift 25,000-30,000 tons of the naphtha grade a month. Tasweeq has also sold June spot cargoes of plant condensate grade and full-range grades at premiums of $27-$28/ton.
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