May 30, 2012 / 4:17 PM / 5 years ago

Europe Gasoline/Naphtha-Prices follow crude down

LONDON, May 30 (Reuters) - Gasoline and naphtha prices in
northwest Europe followed crude oil futures lower on Wednesday,
whilst lacklustre demand continued to dog the market.      	
    Early in the session, barges traded at premiums to the June
swap of some $17-$21.25 a tonne, but this had narrowed to $14.50
a tonne by the close. Traders described the market as very slow.	
    One trader said the United States was "pulling a little" and
that the UK was thought to be looking to import more gasoline to
make up for any shortfall from the potential closure of the
Coryton refinery.	
    But fewer gasoline cargoes were heading to West Africa as
worries grew that Nigeria would not meet all its fuel subsidy
payments, leaving some sellers out of pocket. 	
    Nigeria has already spent half its 2012 fuel subsidy budget
on arrears for last year, its finance ministry said on
Wednesday. It now faces a choice of racking up more debt or
running out of money to sustain the huge subsidy payments.
 	
    As a result, there was less demand for naphtha for use in
gasoline blending, despite a spread of around $153 a tonne,
which on paper makes it very profitable.	
    Similarly, the naphtha East/West differential was at about
$14.63 a tonne for June, which should make the arbitrage to Asia
viable. But petrochemical buyers were staying away from the
market because of global economic uncertainty. 	
    	
    GASOLINE 	
    * No barges of Eurobob traded in the window. Some 13,000
tonnes traded ahead of the window at $977-$1,001.50 a tonne fob
ARA, falling steadily throughout the day as crude oil sold off.	
    * This range was down on Tuesday's pre-window trades at
$1,006-$1,016 a tonne.	
    * Statoil, Noble and Trafigura were on the sell side, whilst
Shell, North Sea Group and Cargill were buyers. Gunvor was
active on both sides of the market. 	
    * Two barges of premium unleaded gasoline changed hands at
$980-$982 a tonne fob ARA, down from $1,004-$1,006 a tonne on
Tuesday. Gunvor sold both the barges to Vitol.	
    * By 1547 GMT, Eurobob's crack to dated Brent BFO- had
slipped to around $12.73 a barrel from around $13.28 a barrel on
Tuesday.	
    * ICE Brent crude futures were down $3.09 at $103.59
a barrel. 	
    * The market sold off after crude crashed through key
technical support levels on euro zone worries and after China
signalled it was unlikely to undertake a big economic stimulus. 	
    * U.S. RBOB gasoline futures in New York were down
1.86 percent at $2.8525 a gallon.	
    * RBOB's crack to U.S. crude futures RB-CL1=R was trading
at $28.44 a barrel, up from $28.03 a barrel around the same time
on Tuesday.	
                        	
    NAPHTHA NAF-C-NWE	
    * No cargoes traded in the physical naphtha window as there
were no bids. Offers came in the $811-$815 a tonne cif NWE
range, slipping from Tuesday's trades at $841 a tonne cif NWE. A
broker said prices were following crude oil down.	
    * The offers came from Totsa, Vitol, Gunvor, Glencore, Shell
and Trafigura. 	
	
 (Reporting by Claire Milhench, editing by Jane Baird)

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