Oil tanker in Ningbo Zhoushan port

A VLCC oil tanker is seen at a crude oil terminal in Ningbo Zhoushan port, Zhejiang province, China May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

ClarkSea Index Records Longest Month Of Gains Despite Tanker Market Doldrums

Bloomberg
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September 12, 2021

By Alex Longley (Bloomberg ) While for many shipping sectors Covid has brought a boom, for oil tankers it has meant loss-making trades for much of 2021 and owners effectively subsidizing the shipment of crude oil.

With OPEC+ still keeping a chunk of supply offline, there are too many ships and too few cargoes, keeping earnings depressed. That has burned one of the hottest trades in the sector at the start of the year — bullish oil tankers positions on the hope of a summer surge in oil demand.

Also Read: World’s Shippers Are Earning The Most Money Since 2008

Still, with on land oil inventories declining, analysts continue to anticipate a rebound. Rates could begin to move higher in October as stockpiles dwindle and demand for tankers grows, Pareto Securities analysts including Eirik Haavaldsen wrote in a note to clients.

But for now, the tanker market remains the only blot for an industry where freight capacity ever-tightening. The ClarkSea index (part of Clarkson Research’s shipping intelligence network) which tracks daily earnings across a diverse range of shipping sectors has already posted its longest run of monthly gains on record.

Those bumper earnings are also being seen in more esoteric markets too. Car carriers now cost the most to hire since 2008. Rates for general cargo ships with heavy equipment are also surging, adding to a boom that is being led by container and bulk shipping.

“The charter rates reported in containers are crazy and it’s the same for dry bulk,” said Alexandra Alatari, a shipping analyst at Arrow Shipbroking Group. “The fundamentals are so strong they support rates that would be the peak of any other year.”

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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