Bloomberg News

Tanker Rates Extend Decline as Vessel Glut Offsets Steady Demand

April 08, 2013

Rates for the largest oil tankers on the benchmark trade route fell for a 10th session as the excess of vessels competing for cargoes offset the biggest demand for cargoes in five months.

Charter costs for very large crude carriers hauling 2 million barrels of Saudi Arabian oil to Japan fell 2.4 percent to 31.16 industry-standard Worldscale points, according to the Baltic Exchange, the London-based publisher of freight rates. That’s the lowest since Feb. 14, figures showed today.

Rates are declining even amid steady demand for cargoes, Fotis Giannakoulis, a New York-based analyst at Morgan Stanley, said in an e-mailed report today. The supply of vessels accumulated over Easter, according to Sam Margolin, an analyst at Cowen Securities in New York. While 98 ships are already booked for April, the most since November, there are still 67 available, according to Kevin Sy, a Singapore-based freight- derivatives broker at Marex Spectron Pte.

“Will the April program end up with more than 120 fixtures?” Sy said in the report. “Maybe. But the well- supplied tonnage will keep rates from rallying for now.”

Daily losses for VLCCs on the Middle East-to-Asia voyage widened to $3,534 from $2,931, according to the exchange. Those assessments don’t reflect owners cutting speeds to save on fuel, their biggest expense. The price of ship fuel, known as bunkers, slid 0.5 percent to $613.39 a metric ton, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from 25 ports worldwide.

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 that includes smaller vessels, rose 0.7 percent to 712, the highest since Dec. 24, according to the exchange.

To contact the reporter on this story: Isaac Arnsdorf in London at iarnsdorf@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net


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