At the end of the previous week, Asia's naphtha price week at their highest in about two weeks, while cracks rose for the third straight session to hover around their highest in a week, as per Reuters. South Korea’s YNCC has come forward to buy cargoes of around 50,000 tons of open-spec naphtha for H2-November arrival at premiums of about US$1.75/ton to Japan spot quotes on a cost-and-freight (C&F) basis. A day before, Japan's Mitsui Chemicals and South Korea's Samsung Total bought a total of about 50,000-75,000 tons for the same delivery period following nearly a week of muted spot trades. YNCC is also seeking term cargoes for January-December 2012 delivery period in a tender closing on Oct. 19, with offers to stay valid until Oct. 24. It currently has a 2011 term deal for about 800,000 tons sealed last year at minus US$4.50/ton on a C&F basis.
Though naphtha has been, demand for cargoes for H2-November delivery is expected to be stronger. The upcoming winter season may make it less economical for crackers in the West to rely on alternative liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) feedstock. Seasonally, naphtha demand in the West becomes stronger as LPG will be used for heating during the winter season.
Unlike naphtha, demand for gasoline in Asia has stayed relatively strong due to refinery outages recently in Taiwan and Singapore and maintenance in India. Formosa has restarted the second RFCC after a prolonged shutdown since end-July following a fire at a refinery secondary unit.
The price for front-month H2 November open spec naphtha rose by eleven dollars to US$921/ton, its highest since Sept. 29. Cracks for H2 November rose to US$81.15/ton.