For the Supertanker Market, This Week is Slightly Less Horrible Than Last Week

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March 8, 2013

(Bloomberg) — Rates to charter the largest oil tankers on their busiest trade route were little changed as the glut of vessels absorbed increased demand.

Costs for very large crude carriers hauling 2 million barrels of Saudi Arabian oil to Japan rose 0.4 percent to 32.85 industry-standard Worldscale points, according to the London- based Baltic Exchange. Rates rose 1.8 percent this month, paring the decline since the start of the year to 23 percent.

A busy week for chartering cut the supply of ships available to load in the next four weeks by six to 87, according to Kevin Sy, a Singapore-based freight-derivatives broker at Marex Spectron Pte. The fleet will expand 5.1 percent this year, almost even with the 5.2 percent advance in demand, estimates Clarkson Plc, the world’s largest shipbroker.

“Although there was a reasonable amount of activity helping owners’’sentiment over the course of the week, rates remained mired in the doldrums,” the Baltic Exchange said in a weekly report today.

Losses for VLCCs on the Middle East-to-Asia voyage narrowed to $2,503 a day from $3,021, according to the exchange. The assessments don’t reflect owners cutting speed to save on fuel, their biggest expense. The price of ship fuel, known as bunkers, climbed less than 0.1 percent to $631.42 a metric ton, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Worldscale points are a percentage of a nominal rate for more than 320,000 specific routes. Flat rates for every voyage, quoted in U.S. dollars a ton, are revised annually by the Worldscale Association in London to reflect changing fuel costs, port tariffs and exchange rates.

The Baltic Dirty Tanker Index, a wider measure of oil- shipping costs, fell 1 percent to 674, the lowest since Feb. 21, according to the exchange.

– Isaac Arnsdorf, Copyright 2013 Bloomberg.

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