North Asian demand props up naphtha price and cracks in Asia

Asia's naphtha price recovered to a three-session high on Thursday, while cracks lingered near their highest level in a week, supported by North Asian demand, as per Reuters. Formosa Petrochemical and Honam Petrochemical purchased t a total of about 200,000 tons for H2-April arrival, a day after LG Chem and Samsung Total had bought at least 75,000 tons for H2-April arrival. Asia's top naphtha buyer Formosa was estimated to have locked in around 150,000 tons, bringing its total spot purchases next month to over 300,000 tons. This is higher than March figures partly due to a 40 day maintenance shutdown at a 180,000 bpd crude unit this month. Last week saw South Korean buyers holding back because of some uncertainties in supplies. However, their purchases this week coincided with demand from Taiwan. Formosa paid premium of US$7-9/ton to Japan spot quotes on a cost-and-freight (C&F) basis, higher than the 50 cents to $1/ton premium paid in late February for 150,000-200,000 tons for H1-April arrival. Honam paid premium of US$11.50-13.50/ton on a C&F basis for 50,000 tons- the highest premiums paid by a South Korean buyer since Jan. 6.
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