Naphtha prices and crack spreads have dipped to their lowest level this week as buyers refrain from concluding deals on rising concerns of deteriorating petrochemical demand and bearish market outlook in China ahead of the Lunar New Year Holidays. Since China is Asia's largest petrochemical importer, even a slight dip in demand significantly impacts naphtha producers in Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. Conventionally, Chinese are not very keen on stockpiling just ahead of the Lunar New Year.
Open Spec Naphtha for H2 March eased to US$672/ton, whereas naphtha cracks slipped to their lowest since Feb. 3, to US$144.90/ton.
In cash deals, Shell sold a H1-April parcel to Sempra at US$667/ton, while it completed a H2 March/H2 April deal to Mitsui at a premium of US$11.5/ton.