Naphtha prices in Asia rise to 2 and a half year high

Naphtha prices in Asia rose for a third consecutive session to end the week at a 2-1/2 year high on Friday, while cracks hit a 1-1/2 month high, supported by a stronger European market, as per Reuters. The unrest in Libya led to concerns of supply disruptions, corresponding with huge volume of cargoes of European naphtha lifted by the United States, pulling away supplies from Asia. An explosion hit a natural gas liquids storage facility in Texas, causing the US petrochemical makers to scramble for alternative feedstock. Saudi Aramco came forward to sell its first spot volumes from Yanbu and Rabigh this year to an undisclosed Western trader at premiums of about US$19/ton to Middle East quotes on a free-on-board (FOB) basis. The 55,000 ton cargo is scheduled for March 28-30 loading. However, Asia's top naphtha supplier is unlikely to have high spot volumes for sale given its scheduled refinery maintenance in Rabigh next month. Open spec naphtha for front-month H2-April rose by over 15 dollars to US$1021.50/ton, its highest since Aug. 28 2008 at US$1023.75/ton. Naphtha cracks rose by over 12 dollars to US$150.75/ton premium.
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