Northwest European naphtha cracks fell to a 16-month low Wednesday as the naphtha paper market reacted to higher crude futures, while the physical European naphtha market remained stable amid no major uptick in spot demand and limited supply.

The May CIF NWE naphtha crack swap fell 25 cents to minus $4.05/b at the close, while Brent front-month crude futures rose to their highest levels since December 2014, as traders weighed news of a possible US air strike against the Syrian regime and Saudi Arabia intercepted a missile launched by Yemeni Houthi militants.

The last time the front-month CIF NWE naphtha crack swap was assessed as low was December 12, 2016, when it ended the day at minus $4.10/b, Platts data shows.

In the meantime, the CIF NWE naphtha physical cargo was assessed at $612.75/mt Wednesday, up $14.25/mt on the day and assessed at a $8.75/mt premium to the May swap, down 25 cents from a $9.00/mt premium Tuesday.

The last time cargo prices were assessed higher was November 26, 2014, over three years ago.

Higher crude-driven flat price pressure could ultimately curtail petrochemical throughput and already thin demand from end-users who were said to have restocked in early April.