Gasoline shipments from Europe across the Atlantic Ocean are set to plunge to the lowest level since August over the next two weeks as U.S. gasoline buying declines, a Bloomberg News survey showed.
Traders and oil companies booked or probably will hire 16 ships up to March 29, according to the median estimate in a survey yesterday of seven shipbrokers, traders and owners who specialize in shipping the auto fuel. That’s two tankers fewer than in the two weeks to March 22.
U.S. gasoline demand fell 7.2 percent below a year earlier last week, the biggest decline in more than two years, MasterCard Inc. (MA) said in its SpendingPulse report this week. Rising auto fuel prices have curbed demand in the U.S., Vienna- based researcher JBC Energy GmbH said in an e-mailed note March 13. The average gasoline pump price could rise to $4.25 a gallon by May, said JBC, citing the American Automobile Association.
“The dire situation for gasoline may not let up anytime soon,” JBC said in the report.
Daily returns for tankers carrying gasoline on the Rotterdam-to-New York trade route fell for a fifth day to $10,981, according to the Baltic Exchange yesterday. Some 35 vessels probably will be available to haul cargoes across the Atlantic Ocean, the survey showed. That’s an increase of four from last week, and the biggest surplus in at least eight months, prior survey data show.
The 16 medium-range tankers ships hired or likely to be booked would be able to haul about 5 million barrels of the fuel, or 359,000 barrels a day, over the next two weeks. That’s 46 percent of the 774,000 barrels the U.S. imported daily over the past year, according to the Department of Energy.
East Coast Shipments
Of the vessels chartered or due to be hired, nine have been booked and seven more probably will be arranged, the survey showed. The survey is based on so-called single-voyage, or spot, charters and excludes loadings under longer-term contracts. It assumes shipments to the U.S. East Coast from northwestern Europe. Each tanker would normally haul about 37,000 tons of gasoline, or 315,000 barrels.
Following is a table of ships chartered and likely to be hired for the voyage to the U.S. Atlantic coast from northwestern Europe loading over the two-week periods from the dates shown. The table also displays the number of ships available to be booked.
*T March 15 March 8 Change Ships Hired 9 10 -10% Ships Likely to be Hired 7 8 -13% Total 16 18 -11% Available Ships 35 31 +13%
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