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Window of opportunity for VLCCs: ICAP Shipping

Window of opportunity for VLCCs: ICAP Shipping
The next two years could bring some long-awaited good news to the crude market, according to Stavroula Betsakou, head of tanker research at ICAP Shipping.

Speaking at yesterday's Marine Money conference in London, Betsakou outlined the tightening supply over the next two years.

"This year I believe we have a window of opportunity in the crude sector, with relatively low fleet growth. So this will allow owners to push freight rates much higher than the fundamentals would explain, as we have at the moment, as we've had in the fourth quarter of last year and so forth.

"That doesn't mean that the floor doesn't rise as well because the supply demand balance is improving... but those spikes in freight rates, we will have more of those this year and probably the next year. They could push the average [rate] significantly higher."

The growth of US oil output is already impacting trade, with the US reducing its imports, particularly from Mexico, but further changes are to come when the US reconsiders its crude oil export ban.

"We don't expect the US to start exporting officially, at least for this year. However, with over 1m bpd of pipeline capacity coming online during the year, they'll have to figure something out by next year at least," said Betsakou. "Whether changes would take the form of a reversal of the US crude oil export ban or bilateral agreements remains to be seen."

The comments mirrored Arrow Research's take on the capesize market earlier in the conference, where the next two years are also expected to bring positive results.