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Asia Naphtha/Gasoline-Margins slip in thin trade amid buyer hesitation

Tuesday, 21 November 2023 | 01:00

Spot naphtha market activity remained muted at the start of the week, with discussions for 2024 term supplies continuing to take centre stage.

Cracking margins NAF-SIN-CRK for the petrochemical feedstock slipped by almost $10 a ton on Monday, against a backdrop of firmer crude futures.

Some buyers mostly signed up to 50% of their demand requirements for 2024, several sources said, as they are likely to keep run rates low going into next year on squeezed production margins.

Spot buying interest will likely emerge at the end of the week or next week for January lots, one trade source said.

Supplies remained sufficient, with a handful of buyers still receiving ready offers for prompt or December-loading heavy naphtha cargoes with Europe-origin material against a backdrop of slowing gasoline blending demand requirements there.

Reforming margins recovered slightly to around $20 a barrel.

Spot trading liquidity on the gasoline front was equally limited as some traders exited the market after covering their requirements a week earlier, amid volatile crude futures.

Octane blendstocks enquiries were slightly scant as well, some traders said, given that it was just the start of the trading week – though the blending spread between octane-92 and octane-95 gasoline remained lucrative.

Supply-side concerns remained present, capping overall market weakness, as some gasoline-producing units are still under maintenance or have curtailed run rates because of technical issues until early December, one refinery source said.

Cracking margins for the motor fuel GL92-SIN-CRK closed the session down by around 50 cents a barrel from the previous trading session.

On the gasoline tender front, India’s Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) was seeking for three 36,000-metric ton cargoes delivering between Nov. 25 and Dec. 7.

SINGAPORE CASH DEALS O/AS

– One gasoline deal, no naphtha deal

NEWS

– China’s gasoline exports fell 20% in October from a year earlier, data showed on Saturday, as domestic road travel surged during the Golden Week holiday.

– Russia has lifted restrictions on gasoline exports, the energy ministry said on Friday, after scrapping most restrictions on exports of diesel last month, saying there was a surplus of supply while wholesale prices had declined.

– OPEC+ is set to consider whether to make additional oil supply cuts when the group meets later this month, three OPEC+ sources told Reuters after prices dropped by almost 20 percent since late September.

– Oil futures edged higher on Monday, extending gains on expectations of OPEC+ deepening supply cuts to shore up prices, which have fallen for four weeks on easing concern of Middle East supply disruption amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.

REFINERY NEWS REF/OUT

– Marathon Petroleum Corp MPC.N said on Sunday one person was injured and 20 facility workers were evacuated due to a fire at its Martinez refinery in California.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Trixie Yap; Editing by Varun H K)

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