SINGAPORE: Saudi Aramco sold 50,000 tonnes of A180 naphtha for early-November loading from Ras Tanura to a Western trader at $16.00-$17.00 a tonne above Middle East quotes, free-on-board (FOB) basis, pointing to a strong recovery of export prices to high premiums, traders said on Monday.
It was not immediately clear where this cargo is headed, but two other Saudi cargoes had been shipped to Europe last week by Vitol, traders said.
The premium for the latest cargo for Nov. 4-6 loading was much higher than the 320,000 tonnes of spot naphtha that Saudi Aramco sold for October loadings from different ports that ranged from $4.00-$9.00 a tonne premiums, on an FOB basis.
The market had already strengthened after the Vitol cargoes, each from Rabigh and Yanbu, were moved to the West, traders said.
Market sentiment strengthened after Taiwan’s Formosa restarted its 700,000 tonne-per-year No. 1 naphtha cracker late last week.
The prompt market was also lifted by expectations that more Middle East naphtha might head to Europe after following a French port and oil refinery strike which limited supplies of oil products especially, gasoline, traders said.
Physical cracks, the premiums/losses obtained from refining Brent crude into naphtha, were at a five-month high on Friday at nearly $144.00 a tonne premium, while November/December prompt time spread strengthened on Monday to its highest level in at least three months.