According to China Customs, China imported 364.6kt of naphtha in January, down 40.36% M-O-M and 31.06% Y-O-Y. In terms of the export market, China exported 35kt of naphtha in January.
In January, the naphtha import volume greatly declined from December 2017. There were three reasons: First, the international crude oil prices fluctuated upward, so the importers suffered cost pressure. Second, influenced by the new consumption tax, China’s refined oil prices surged. However, the demand for refined oil was relatively sluggish, so the refined oil prices fell back from the high level. There was less bullish support at the naphtha market, so most market participants cut the naphtha offers. Besides, in terms of the naphtha supply, the crude oil processing volume at PetroChina and Sinopec grew from last month, and the overhauls at Shandong independent refineries were few. Therefore, China’s naphtha supply was relatively stable, and the supply from the independent refineries rose to some extent. Thus, most buyers intended to purchase the Chinese-made naphtha resources.
SCI reckons that the import volume of naphtha in February will continue to decline. On the one hand, the international crude oil prices hovered at highs, and refineries showed poor interest in purchasing resources from the market. On the other hand, influenced by the Spring Festival holiday, the overall market was tepid. Some downstream users cut the operating rates, so the demand for naphtha dropped to some extent. Besides, according to SCI’s statistics, although the operating rates at independent refineries dropped during the Spring Festival holiday, the crude oil processing volume at state-owned refineries kept rising. Thus, the naphtha supply in February was relatively stable. On the whole, SCI predicts that China’s naphtha import volume will continue to drop in February.
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