As markets of Asia, particularly the northern region, firm up on account of dwindling supplies of the benchmark grade because of recent ethylene plant outages in Northeast Asia, shipments from other continents are ready to land on the shores of North Asia. Of these, the atypical ones are from the United States. About 205,000 tons of European and Mediterranean loading naphtha have also been fixed to load this month.
Paraffinic naphtha is preferred by petrochemical plants in Asia, due to its high ethylene yield. Inventories of this naphtha are currently at low levels, while demand has continued to be steady despite recent ethylene plant shutdowns. Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemical Corp., Asia's biggest ethylene producer has restarted its 1.2 million tpa ethylene plant at 80% capacity, exerting pressures on supply as it seeks naphtha feedstock.
Exports from India have also lower from 700,000-800,000 tons in December and more than 1 million tons in November to 500,000-600,000 tons of naphtha in January and February, mainly due to stronger domestic consumption, traders said.