Naphtha prices in Asia to stabilize as consumption falls

01-Feb-11
Naphtha prices in Asia are expected to stabilize in the next few weeks as consumption falls. This will bring an end to weeks of volatility triggered by strong demand in Asia, a weak European market and high liquefied petroleum gas prices, as per Reuters. Naphtha demand is expected to slow at the onset of the cracker maintenance season, which will wipe away a chunk of the light fuel's demand. Along with that, LPG prices are likely to fall further as winter demand for the gas ebbs, making it economical for crackers to do a partial switch from naphtha. Asian naphtha margins (measured against Brent crude), swung from a near three-year high in early January above US$185/ton followed by a slump to a three-month low at less than US$$127. The wide swings in naphtha values have been recreated in naphtha-rich condensate and light sweet crude grades in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East markets over the past three weeks.
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