Stena Bulk VLCC crude oil tanker

ASIA TANKER: VLCCs At 2-Mo Low; CPPs Waiting For Gasoline Demand

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July 12, 2011

Stena Bulk VLCC crude oil tanker
Image courtesy of Stena Bulk

SINGAPORE (Dow Jones)–High availability of vessels is pressuring Asia crude tanker markets, while rates for ships that carry clean petroleum products have remained largely steady, defying expectations of tightness due to increased summer gasoline demand.

The rate for a 260,000-metric-ton Very Large Crude Carrier from the Middle East to Japan was assessed Monday at a two-month low of Worldscale 49.03, or $1,328 a day, versus W49.08 a week ago, according to Baltic Exchange data.

“Charterers had little cause for concern…they picked off tonnage from a lengthy list [of available vessels] at will,” broker Simpson Spencer & Young said in a research note.

Furthermore, as the International Energy Agency’s emergency reserve program unfolds, buyers in participating countries require less chartering thanks to the availability of locally released stocks.

With bookings for this month set to end within a week, just 75 cargoes bound for East Asia have been fixed to be loaded versus 98 shipments a year ago, according to data from Meiwa International.

The rate for a VLCC from West Africa to China was at W47.50 Monday, flat on week, while the 80,000-ton Aframax rate from Southeast Asia to the east coast of Australia inched up to W97.39 from W96.81.

Freight rates for clean products such as naphtha, gasoil and gasoline have been little changed, as gasoline shipments haven’t increased as much as expected during peak Northern Hemisphere summer demand season.

“Supply of vessels in all classes exceed demand by a small margin…we can only hope the much-anticipated gasoline activities will push up rates soon,” a Singapore-based broker said.

The rate for a 75,000-ton LR-2 cargo from the Middle East to Japan fell to W118.67 from W119.55, as a 55,000-ton LR-1 cargo for the same route dropped to W121.31 from W123.77.

The rate for a 30,000-ton tanker from Singapore to Japan is little changed at W147.36, versus W147.21 a week earlier.

Meanwhile, all July-loading naphtha cargoes from Rabigh are being deferred by up to five days due to refinery glitches, but this development has had limited impact on freight market so far, another broker said.

-By Max Lin, Dow Jones Newswires

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