About 150,000 tons of mainly heavier naphtha grades will be shipped to Asia from the Mediterranean in March, as per Reuters. However, shortage in Europe is likely to halt further shipments to Asia.
The arbitrage window for open-spec naphtha used mainly for ethylene cracking was shut recently. However, the arb window was open for the heavier naphtha grades used mainly for making paraxylene, as supplies were extremely tight in Asia. However, the window for heavier grades may also shut soon, as prices of most naphtha grades in Northwest Europe were rising as supplies were shrinking on refinery outages and shutdowns due to monetary losses. The strong European market may even result in Gulf/Asian naphtha barrels being shipped to the West in what traders term as 'reverse arbitrage'.