Naphtha strengthens in Asia supported by demand

Naphtha price in Asia ended the week at a two-session high of US$963/ton while its margin was at a four-session high of US$129.98/ton, supported by emerging demand, as per Reuters. The strong market is being driven by exceptionally firm demand as petrochemical units are mostly running at high operational rates and skipping maintenance this year. This has kept premiums at healthy levels for sellers. South Korea's top ethylene maker Lotte Chemical was heard to have secured about 25,000 tons for H2-April delivery at a premium of about US$26/ton to Japan quotes on a cost-and-freight (C&F) basis. Traders said the petrochemical maker had likely wanted to buy more, but offers were few and far between, similar to what LG Chem had encountered the previous day. Lotte Chemical's Malaysian subsidiary Titan was also out seeking cargoes for April 16-20 arrival at Pasir Gudang. But it withdrew the tender due likely to high and limited offers.
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