Transatlantic Clean Tanker Rates Stay Pressured In Slow Trade

reuters_logo1LONDON, Oct 7 (Reuters) – Transatlantic clean tanker rates remained pressured on Monday as slow activity and a glut of vessels took their toll.

Rates for medium-range (MR) tankers for 37,000 tonne cargoes on the TC2 route from Rotterdam to New York were at W70.21, or -$3,282 a day when translated into average earnings.

That compared with W70.63 or -$3,304 a day on Friday and W81.88 or -$510 last Monday. On Friday average earning dropped to an all time low since they were first compiled in 2008, exchange data showed.

Average earnings per day are calculated after a vessel covers its voyage costs such as bunker fuel and port fees.

“The lack of cargoes in the Atlantic as European refinery maintenance peaks weighed heavily, and rates fell further,” broker SSY said.

“Earnings have plunged to unprecedented lows and with the vessels that ballasted to the U.S. Gulf set to return imminently, rates are likely to remain under pressure.”

Brokers said shipments from the U.S. Gulf had also weighed on TC2 rates in recent weeks.

Brokers said firmer cargo activity had provided support to the Long Range tanker market.

“Despite refinery outages, European refining margins remain under pressure,” consultants MSI said in their report.

“The earlier than expected start up of the Jubail refinery in Saudi Arabia and loading of the first export cargoes will ratchet up the pressure on an already depressed European refining industry struggling to compete with a flood of diesel imports from the U.S. and Asia.”

Long Range 1 tankers, carrying 55,000 tonne loads from the Middle East Gulf (MEG) to Japan, reached W111.67 or $10,567 a day.

That compared with W111.67 or $10,406 a day on Friday and W103.04 or $7,882 a day last Monday.

“LR1 rates jumped, with the firm sentiment going forward being attributed to the majority of eastbound enquiry continuing to sit off the mid-month position allowing tonnage to thin,” SSY said.

Brokers said LR rates were also looking more positive, helped by fewer tankers for hire.

“More acute rate gains could be seen… if ships continue to successfully lift subs (bookings) and enquiry remains abundant, in addition to continued support from LR1s,” SSY said.

Larger Long Range 2 or LR2, 75,000 tonne shipments on the Middle East Gulf to Japan route, were at W98.68 or $14,898 a day. That compared with W98.45 or $14,620 a day on Friday and W92.95 or $12,665 a day last Monday. (Reporting by Jonathan Saul; editing by James Jukwey)

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