July 16, 2012 / 5:48 PM / 5 years ago

Europe Gasoline/Naphtha-Naphtha resists weak fundamentals

LONDON, July 16 (Reuters) - Gasoline and naphtha prices held
relatively steady with cracks withstanding the effects of rising
crude oil futures as more of both products leaves the region.
    No Eurobob was traded for an eighth consecutive day, while
buyers dived on more plentiful premium unleaded with 13 cargoes
traded in the window.
    The closure of Petroplus' Coryton refinery remains an
underlying bullish factor for gasoline along with the U.S.
driving season. 
    There was still no demand from Nigeria, one trader said. The
West African country's energy sector is reeling from
uncertainties stemming from a growing corruption scandal over
fuel subsidies.
    On Monday, it was further revealed that Nigeria's government
owes the state-owned oil firm for improper, informal loans used
to cover a range of expenses, from a presidential helicopter to
maritime security, a report of a partial audit will say.
    Naphtha cracks held steady despite weak fundamentals as the
continuing gasoline arbitrage to the U.S. keeps up steady
naphtha demand for gasoline blending. 
    "For the moment, there is no reason for improving (prices),
unless the macro situation in Europe becomes clearer," said one
trader, "You might see an improving market one day and weakening
the next... but just following mood and sentiment change, not
    Despite a closed arbitrage window, Vitol is sending around
80,000 tonnes of naphtha to South Korea, several market sources
said, which is expected to erase some of the overhang. 
    Asian naphtha margins have reached their highest in at least
two months, buoyed by renewed petrochemical demand.
    * No benchmark Eurobob barges traded in the Platts window
for an eighth session.
    * Around 5,000 tonnes traded ahead of the window, at $984 a
tonne fob ARA largely in line with Friday's deals at $980-$985 a
    * Hess, Chevron and Statoil sold to Cargill and Litasco.
    * Some 13 barges of premium unleaded traded at $991-992 a
tonne fob ARA, in line with the previous session's deals at
$990-$995 a tonne.
    * Gunvor sold 12 cargoes to Total and Argos North Sea Group
sold one to Total. 
    * By 1553 GMT, Eurobob's crack to dated Brent BFO- was up
at $15.90, up from $14.56 at Friday's close.
    * ICE Brent crude futures were up $1.10 at $103.50 a
barrel around the same time. 
    * U.S. RBOB gasoline futures were down 0.93 percent
at $2.8424 a gallon around the same time.
    * RBOB's crack to U.S. crude futures RB-CL1=R was trading
higher at $31.60 a barrel, compared with Friday's close at
$31.18 a barrel.
    * Three naphtha cargoes traded in the window at $835-837 a
tonne cif NWE, up from $822 a tonne last week. 
   * The naphtha refining margin was at around minus $9.15,
marginally above Friday at $9.40 a barrel. The August crack was
at around minus $9.50 a barrel.

 (Reporting by Julia Payne; editing by James Jukwey)

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