Transatlantic Clean Tanker Rates Hit By Ship Surplus

reuters logoLONDON, May 20 (Reuters) – Clean tanker rates for refined petroleum products on top export routes were softer on Monday in slower trade with a build up of vessels putting more pressure on the transatlantic market.

Rates for medium-range (MR) tankers for 37,000-tonne cargoes on the TC2 route from Rotterdam to New York were at W140.42, or $13,332 a day when translated into average earnings.

That compared with W141.00 or $13,647 a day on Friday and W165.42 or $19,061 a day last Monday. Earlier this month, earnings reached their highest since mid February, helped by firmer bookings for gasoline cargoes to the U.S. and product shipments to Argentina.

“The Continent market was under strong negative pressure as rising available positions against slower fresh demand caused a much greater supply/demand balance,” broker CR Weber said.

Earlier this year transatlantic earnings jumped to their highest in a year helped by gasoline arbitrage trading and firmer booking activity before a rally ran out of steam.

“Tonnage lists have been building in the UKC as a busy USG-UKC market brought more ships into the region. Most fixing has been transatlantic, with a few cargoes still moving to Argentina. TC2 rates slid and have seemingly bottomed around W140,” SSY said.

In April last year, rates reached their highest since 2008 on a jump in U.S. gasoline demand. Since then, average earnings have remained volatile.

Long Range 1 tankers, carrying 55,000-tonne loads from the Middle East Gulf (MEG) to Japan, were at W95.92 or $5,764 a day.

That compared with W96.32 or $6,457 a day on Friday and W99.54 or $6,629 a day last Monday.

“Rates for both LR2s and LR1s from the Middle East to Asia have continued to soften with limited enquiry and the position lists remain long well up to end-May,” SSY said.

“Pressure on LR2 rates will continue to mount with little disparity in LR1 and LR2.”

Larger Long Range 2 or LR2, 75,000-tonne shipments on the Middle East Gulf to Japan route were at W77.55 or $5,897 a day. That compared with W81.40 or $8,287 a day on Friday and W83.86 or $8,401 a day last Monday.

Late last year the volume of LR1 fixtures jumped to their highest in years, helped by healthy naphtha and jet fuel bookings to Asia, sending earnings to their highest since early October 2009. (Reporting by Jonathan Saul; editing by James Jukwey)

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