Asia’s light end markets were trading higher in mid-morning trade Oct. 18 on firmer crude futures, with gasoline banking on sustained recovery in regional travel, while naphtha seeks support from the widening ethylene-naphtha spread, says an articles published in Platts.
November FOB Singapore 92 RON gasoline swap was notionally pegged around $95.42/b in early Oct. 18 trade, up 1.21% from the previous session, supported by strengthening US RBOB-Brent crack amidst natural gas and coal supply tightness, plus expectations of strong demand due to increased travel.
US RBOB-Brent crack at 0230 GMT Oct. 18 rose 9.53% versus the previous session to $19.56/b, a seven-week high. US RBOB-Brent crack was last higher Aug. 31 at $22.84/b.
Market participants remained bullish over gasoline demand outlook in Asia and the Middle East, as cracks have been steadily edging higher. FOB Singapore 92 RON gasoline crack against front-month ICE Brent crude futures was assessed at $12.29/b at the close of Asian trade Oct. 15, up 26.89% week on week, S&P Global Platts data showed.
Demand recovery in India and Indonesia was expected to support Asia’s gasoline complex, sources said.
Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. was seeking 55,000 mt of 91 RON gasoline for Nov. 1-4 delivery at Visakhapatnam, in a spot tender closing Oct. 19, with next-day validity. Indonesia’s Pertamina was seeking 200,000 barrels of HOMC 92 RON gasoline for Nov. 4-9 delivery CFR basis Balikpapan and/or FOB Karimun/FOB Straits (Singapore/Malaysia) and/or FOB Brunei, in a tender closing Oct. 19 with validity till Oct. 22.
Physical C+F Japan naphtha marker rose $7.125/mt from the previous Asian session to $791.125/mt in mid-morning trade Oct. 18 on higher crude.
Stable sentiment was reflected in naphtha swaps; brokers pegged front-month physical half-month November-December Mean of Platts Japan naphtha swap spread at $9.00/mt in mid-morning trade Oct. 18, up 50 cents/mt from the Oct. 15 Asian close, Platts data showed.
Asia’s naphtha market will see the start of trading for the H1 December delivery cycle this week, which is expected to see firm demand from Asian steam crackers on positive olefin margins, sources said.
The CFR Japan naphtha physical crack against front-month ICE Brent crude futures enters the week on a positive note, as it climbed $4.25/mt on the week to $147.70/mt at the Oct. 15 Asian close, after touching a seven-year high at $147.725/mt at the Oct. 14 Asian close, Platts data showed.
The key CFR Northeast Asia ethylene and C+F Japan naphtha spread widened $4.375/mt on-week to $381/mt at the Oct. 15 the Asian close. The margin will be watched closely by steam cracker operators this week, as the spread inched towards the typical breakeven levels of $300-$350/mt for non-integrated producers.
Front-month November propane contract price swap was notionally indicated at $860/mt Oct. 18, up from $856/mt valued Oct. 15. This is $60/mt higher than October term contract prices. CP butane swap was indicated at $20/mt below propane.
November-December CP propane swap was indicated in a contango of $5.5/mt Oct. 18, widening from $4/mt the previous session, while December-January was indicated in a backwardation of $10/mt, widening from $8/mt previous session.
Middle East FOB supply is ample with Saudi Aramco accepting November-loading cargoes without cuts or delays, traders said, after ADNOC and Qatar Petroleum having announced November acceptances in line with lifters’ nominations, while supply from Iran till end-year is expected to meet recovering demand.
Middle East cargo activity, along with continued dry docking of VLGCs through Q4, are pushing freight on the Persian Gulf-Japan route towards $50/mt, the highest since June 8, Platts data showed.
North East Asian demand is stoked by winter heating, while the return of China’s propane dehydrogenation plants from maintenance is keeping import levels steady.
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