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Naphtha firms in Asia amid supply constraints (28-12-2012)
 
Naphtha price in Asia rose to a nearly 2-1/2 month high of US$981.50/ton on Thursday, while margin rose to US$148.03/ton to almost 21% higher than a month ago, as per Reuters. A tightly supplied naphtha market and firm demand led by optimism over China's industrial growth have boosted the overall sentiment.
Japan's Mitsui Chem was heard to have bought naphtha for H1-February arrival at a premium of about US$19/ton to Japan quotes on a cost-and-freight (C&F) basis, but this could not be immediately verified. Taiwan's CPC is to award a tender to buy 105,000 tons of naphtha for February delivery but the results were not clear. On supplies, about 650,000 tons of naphtha from Europe, the Mediterranean and the United States are expected to land in Asia in January 2013, with the volumes reflecting a 35% drop versus December.
Asia on an average is net-short of about 500,000 tons of open-spec naphtha, a Singapore-based trader estimated. Separately, positive data emerges from China, giving petrochemical makers hope that its import demand will increase. Petrochemical products include plastics and synthetic rubber which are heavily used in the consumer, industrial and construction sectors. The Xinhua news agency quoted industry minister, Miao Wei, as saying that China's industrial output is on track to grow 10% this year from 2011. He added that the government aims for the same annual growth rate in 2013.
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