Monday, December 15, 2014

Asia Tankers-VLCC rates to stay firm after Mideast climbs to near 5-yr high

Rates for very large crude carriers (VLCCs) on key Asian routes are likely to hold firm next week but are unlikely to continue the surge seen earlier this week, brokers said.

Freight rates from the Middle East to Japan soared to their highest level since Feb. 2011, buoyed by a raft of fixtures by Shell, brokers and Reuters chartering data showed.

Average VLCC earnings on the Middle East-Japan route this year are at the highest level since 2010, said Ralph Leszczynski, head of research at Italian shipbroker Banchero Costa.

“Average earnings on the Middle East-Asia route so far in 2014 are $22,000 per day, against $32,000 per day in 2010. But this is still way better than the last three years,” he told Reuters on Friday

“I expect the VLCC market to stay pretty firm for fixtures in the first 10 days of next month. I see rates holding the line around 68-73 on the Worldscale measure,” a Singapore-based VLCC broker said on Friday.

Rates soared after Shell fixed three VLCC Middle East cargoes at around W73, equivalent to $81,500 per day, and around nine points higher than the prevailing charter rate for the route.

“Rates have edged up considerably and we are now seeing this year’s final cargoes in the Middle East being concluded and rates could possibly add further,” said Norwegian ship broker Fearnley in a weekly note on Wednesday.

Rates from West Africa to China climbed, helped by fixtures from Unipec and Shell, Reuters chartering data showed.

At least one charterer resisted owners’ attempts to push the market significantly higher with Taiwan’s Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC) rejecting offers of W80 for a VLCC charter from the Middle East to Taiwan this week, the broker said.

Around 125 VLCC charters from the Middle East to Asia had been concluded for December loading. But charterers could hold back January cargoes to take some heat out of the market, the broker added.
VLCC rates for the benchmark route from the Middle East to Japan climbed to W73 on Thursday compared with W60 a week earlier.

Rates for West Africa to China rose to W66 on Thursday, against W59 last week, the highest since January.

In other trades, rates for 80,000-tonne Aframax tankers from Southeast Asia to East Coast Australia dropped to around W111 on Thursday, from W114 last Thursday, continuing a steady fall that stated on Nov. 25.

Clean tanker rates from Singapore to Japan slipped to W119 on Thursday, down from W119.50 a week earlier.

“The market is fairly okay. Rates are steady,” said a Singapore-based clean tanker broker on Friday.
Source: Reuters (Reporting By Keith Wallis; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)

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