VLCC rates plummet to new depths

VLCC rates on the Baltic Exchange’s benchmark TD3 time charter equivalent route reached further record lows yesterday in what has been a week where supertankers have plummeted to ever lower depths.

Prices on the route from the Middle East to China stood at $-8,330 yesterday. One cargo to South Korea received 17 offers before settling for a 2017-built vessel at approximately $-23,500 per day.

Belgian tanker giant Euronav, issuing its quarterlies yesterday, warned of two key possible hurdles owners face ahead of any recovery, namely a return to restrictions based on further or new strains of Covid-19 and a high oil price affecting consumption recovery.

Analysts at Evercore described the tanker markets as being in a “shambles” yesterday.

“[T]he ongoing delays in a sustainable uplift continues to keep most investors disinterested in the sector,” Evercore noted.

Fearnleys, meanwhile, said this week’s VLCC doldrums were down to a combination of owners lacking the fight, as sentiment remains as low as it can get, coupled with the abundance of relets, something the Norwegian broker described as the charterers’ Trojan horse in a weekly update, going on to predict more of the same in the short term.

J Mintzmyer, a shipping stock analyst from US-based Value Investor’s Edge, warned yesterday that the enormous amount of VLCCs hitting the water this year will need to see demolitions of 50+ VLCC equivalents to bring about any form of market balance.

“While it is true that the orderbook itself is small, almost the entire thing is slammed into 2022,” Mintzmyer wrote on social media.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


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