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Asian naphtha prices are expected to strengthen further

September 16/2011

(ICIS) -- Asian naphtha prices are expected to strengthen further, supported by continuous low exports from India and limited deep-sea inflows from Europe, traders said on Friday. Regional demand for the petrochemical feedstock remains stable and with demand outpacing supply, the premiums in recent spot tenders have edged higher, they added.

The naphtha crack spread against November Brent crude futures widened to USD 124.35/tonne (EUR 89.53/tonne) on Thursday from USD 119.88/tonne earlier in the week, ICIS data showed. Stronger global crude futures on Friday were a further boost. The naphtha contract for the first half of November jumped by USD 17.50-18.50/tonne from Thursday to close at USD 982.50-985.50/tonne CFR (cost & freight) Japan, according to ICIS data.

The October East-West spread was at around USD 6.70/tonne, too marginal for players to consider bringing in cargoes from Europe, traders said.

Meanwhile, Indian refiners are expected to raise their naphtha exports in October to 800 KT from around 700-750 KT in September, although the volumes remain below the usual monthly average of 850 KT.

The volumes in September were unusually low because of plant turnarounds, while the volume of exports in August was in the high-900,000s, the traders said.

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