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Suezmax rates surge back, VLCCs remain depressed

Suezmax rates surge back, VLCCs remain depressed
In a sign that the summer lull for tankers could be coming to an end suezmax rates bounced back sharply last week, but VLCCs remain under pressure.

Brokers Gibsons noted that business from West Africa had led the way with Shell lifting a force majeure on Bonny light exports early September and Qua Iboe expected to restart in late September.

The result has been that West Africa – UK/Continent rates have moved up to around $35,000 per at present compared to just $5,000 in mid-August.

“There is possibility of more barrels loading in the Mediterranean. Libya’s National Oil Company is in the process of re-opening Zueitina, Ras Lanuf and El Sider oil terminals and the company hopes to triple domestic crude output by the end of this year,” Gibsons commented in its weekly report.

“So far the success has been mixed. The government officials stated that one Aframax tanker successfully loaded and departed Ras Lanuf, but loading operations have been temporarily halted due to military clashes.”

While suezmaxes have enjoyed a bounce back the same cannot be said for VLCCs.

“Despite firming rates and earnings in a number of regional trades in the West, the VLCC Arabian Gulf market remains weak, with spot earnings for Middle East – Japan barely covering fixed operating expenses,” the report noted.

Rates remain in the low W30 points eastwards and low W20 points westwards.