Asia Naphtha-India's BPCL sells end-Oct cargo to Unipec

SINGAPORE, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Indian Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) sold a naphtha cargo to Unipec for about $26 a tonne above Middle East quotes on a free-on-board (FOB) basis, down by as much as a third on spot prices for two previous October cargoes, traders said on Thursday.

The fall in premiums was not seen as an indication of a softer market and traders attributed it to the cargo size, as BPCL usually exports 35,000 tonnes out of Mumbai.

"But this time, the cargo size is smaller," said a trader.

The 30,000-tonne cargo is scheduled for Oct. 29-31 loading from Mumbai.

Usually, the smaller the cargo, the lower the price since traders are not able to maximize the freight rates.

The strong naphtha market may have been a reason why BPCL decided to sell about 14.5 percent less of its usual volumes, a second trader said.

"They can sell the smaller parcels later," said the trader.

BPCL usually exports up to 140,000 tonnes of naphtha a month, including quarterly term cargoes, from its Mumbai refinery, which had shut a crude distillation unit for a maintenance last month.

The maintenance ended around Sept. 20.

(Reporting by Seng Li Peng; Editing by Ed Davies)

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