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Listen: USGC-Asia naphtha flows spike in Q2 despite tanker owner reticence

Flows of naphtha from the US Gulf Coast to Asia have reached record highs in May and June, drawn by fresh demand from Asia's steam crackers returning from seasonal maintenance and new units coming online over the second half of June.

Though higher refining rates and dampened demand for gasoline in the US have opened wide this normally delicate naphtha arbitrage, tanker owners operating in the Americas have shown resistance to making the trans-Pacific voyage, citing low daily earnings and weak freight levels in both the Americas and Asia Medium Range tanker markets as deterrents for repositioning their fleets.

Marieke Alsguth, S&P Global Platts clean tanker editor, sits down with Houston naphtha editor MK Bower and Singapore naphtha editor Wanda Wang to discuss the factors that opened the floodgates for naphtha barrels to move from the USGC to Asia, and how the resurgence of petroleum product demand as countries emerge from pandemic-related lockdowns could affect activity on the trans-Pacific tradeflow.