Gasoline slipped towards $680 a tonne on Tuesday, pressured by a drop in crude prices, but cracks rose slightly as light-end products remain the strongest part of the oil complex.

Prices had been firm in early trade, edging up in line with crude as the U.S. benchmark oil contract CLc1 chased the $75
mark for the first time in 10-months. But after that target was hit, the entire complex turned lower. [O/R]

The gasoline market is still pretty tight, so while it's tracking crude, the swings to the downside aren't as violent, one broker said.

PRICES

* Premium unleaded 10ppm gasoline barges traded at $681-685 a tonne fob ARA at the close, compared with Monday's deals
around $690. * Gasoline crack to dated Brent BFO- rose to $8.50 from $7.90 on Monday.

* Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 80 cents at $73.46 a barrel by 1604 GMT. U.S. crude futures CLc1 hit a year high of $75.00 before falling back below $74 on profit-taking. [O/R]

* U.S. RBOB gasoline futures RBc1 were around $2.04 a gallon, having briefly touched $2.06 earlier in the session.

* Traders said the arbitrage to the United States was improving, but was still negative for the early part of September at around minus $3.80 a tonne.

NAPHTHA

* Naphtha spot prices edged higher to $633 a tonne cif NWE from a mid-point of around $630 on Monday.

* But petrochemical buying interest has waned this week, with liquefied petroleum gas prices trading at $70 discounts to naphtha for September.

* The spread between naphtha and gasoline has widened to around $51 a tonne. Early last week it narrowed to just $10 a tonne at one stage, before demand for naphtha dipped.

GASOLINE/NAPHTHA SWAPS

* Gasoline barge swaps for September fell $5 to $683.50 a tonne fob ARA. The September/October backwardation shrank to $19.50 from $20.

* Naphtha swaps for September fell slightly to a closing level of $629 a tonne cif NWE after trading at $631 on Monday.

* East/West spreads fell from to $13 from $16, dampening prosepcts for a resumption of exports to Asia. Brokers said the spread would need to reach around $20 for the arbitrage to re-open.

 EXPORTS

* Iran's September gasoline imports were expected to be steady around 128,000 barrels per day next month, traders said on Tuesday. [ID:nLP206026]

* Exports to the United States, Europe's key external market, were seen limited due to the closed arbitrage.

* Clean tanker prices have come under pressure due to the lack of exports passing between Europe and the United States. [ID:nLP428644]

REFINERY OUTPUT

* Refiners have continued cutting output in August, taking advantage of relatively low margins to carry out planned maintenance. [REF/OUT]

STOCKS

* U.S. gasoline stocks are expected to have fallen last week by 900,000 barrels, according to a Reuters poll. [EIA/S]

* The American Petroleum Institute releases its weekly snapshot of U.S. fuel stocks at 2030 GMT on Tuesday, followed by the Energy Information Administration at 1630 GMT the next day.

(Reporting by David Sheppard and Emma Farge; editing by Keiron Henderson)