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ASIA TANKER: Market Showing Optimism?

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November 22, 2011

SINGAPORE (Dow Jones)–Asia’s petroleum tanker markets may extend a recent period of strength in the coming week, as charterers are busy fixing cargoes ahead of the holiday season.

The spot rate for a 260,000-metric-ton Very Large Crude Carrier from the Middle East to Japan was assessed Monday at Worldscale 67.37, the highest since mid-March, Baltic Exchange data showed. Cash earnings for owners were assessed at $23,246 a day.

With booking of December-lifting cargoes gathering pace, market sentiment has been bullish and owners have been able to push rates higher, broker Simpson, Spence & Young said in a note.

Already, 41 cargoes have been fixed to be lifted next month, of which 34 will arrive in Asia, Meiwa International said.

“Total tonnage supply is still in surplus…but charterers are moving fast before the Christmas season and the market is in an uptrend,” a broker said.

Also, the spot rate for a VLCC from West Africa to China inched up to W61.87, an eight-month high, from W60.97.

The rate for 80,000-ton Aframax from Southeast Asia to the east coast of Australia rose to W102.94 from W102.50, the highest since mid-May.

Freight rates for vessels carrying clean petroleum products such as naphtha, gasoline and gasoil have mostly been recovering, with increased naphtha fixtures from the Middle East and tighter tonnage in Singapore.

The rate for a 30,000-ton tanker from Singapore to Japan rose to W154.64, the highest since early September, while that for a 55,000-ton LR-1 cargo from the Middle East to Japan strengthened to W117.19 from the week-ago level of W116.92.

However, the rate for a 75,000-ton LR-2 cargo for the Middle East-Japan route fell to W100.42–the lowest since mid-March. This is due to fewer enquiries for bigger-sized vessels, a Singapore-based broker said.

-By Max Lin, Dow Jones Newswires

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