17-12-2018

Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp naphtha inventories rebound, gasoline flat on week

Naphtha inventories in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub rebounded by 15,000 mt in the week ending Wednesday, but remained near a year low amid seasonal destocking, according to the data from PJK International.

However, that level is down marginally from about the same point last year, a decline of 2,000 mt.

Naphtha stockpiles had been generally dwindling since reaching 343,000 mt in the week ending October 18. They reached a year low of 202,000 mt in the week ending November 22 and have been up and down since then. Naphtha stocks stood at 255,000 mt in the week ended December 13, the seventh-lowest week of the year.

The general weakness aligns with end-of-year inventory sell-offs. Still, the naphtha crack rose last week despite the stockpile build.

The naphtha crack was assessed up 20 cents week on week at minus $7.10/b Wednesday.

Both blending and petrochemical refining demand for naphtha have been weak recently, according to the market sources. Still, cargoes steadily made their way east to Asia, they said.

Meanwhile, gasoline inventories were marginally lower on the week at 951,000 mt, and up 11% year on year, according to PJK International data Thursday.

The stagnant weekly stocks were evident of a slowing gasoline market as the year-end approaches.

“There is not much going on [in Northwest Europe]; people have stopped selling and are waiting for January,” a source said Thursday.

West Africa, a leading importer of barrels out of the ARA hub, still has sufficient stock levels, hampering any inflated buying interest.

“The last I heard is that there were 52 days covered — it’s a long time. The West African buying into Q1 is already committed, we could see flows, it’s too late to cancel,” a second source said Thursday.

Source: Platts

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