ASIA TANKER: Crude Tanker Markets May Improve Due to Increased Demand

Frontline Crude Oil Tankers VLCC
Sea Force, a 305k DWT VLCC, image courtesy Frontline Tankers,

SINGAPORE (Dow Jones)–Asia’s crude tanker markets may see continued support in the coming week due to healthy demand, while improving gasoil demand in Europe will likely support ships carrying clean petroleum products.

The spot rate for a 260,000-metric-ton Very Large Crude Carrier from the Middle East to Japan was assessed Monday at W49.71, versus W49.03 a week ago, Baltic Exchange data showed. Cash returns for owners were assessed at $338.

With booking not yet completed, 108 cargoes have already been fixed for lifting this month, up from 106 a year ago, according to broker Meiwa International.

“There are plenty of vessels around but…owners will likely resist lower rates” due to surging bunker prices, the broker said.

The spot rate for a VLCC from West Africa to China was at W54.35, up slightly on week from W54.23.

Meanwhile, the 80,000-ton Aframax rate from Southeast Asia to the east coast of Australia fell to W95.63 from W98.33.

Freight rates for vessels carrying clean petroleum products will likely begin to recover on tightening vessel availability in the Middle East, where gasoil exports to Europe are rising due to seasonal demand.

“The Middle East-West is doing very well now,” which is correspondingly supporting rates for eastbound shipments, a Singapore-based broker said.

The rate for a 55,000-ton LR-1 cargo from the Middle East to Japan Monday rose on week to W113.64 from W110.00, but the rate for a 75,000-ton LR-2 cargo for the same route fell to W105.75 from W107.18.

The rate for a 30,000-ton tanker from Singapore to Japan Tuesday inched down to W149.86 from W150.93 a week ago.

-By Max Lin, Dow Jones Newswires