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Asian tanker rates start heading downhill again

Asian tanker rates started heading downhill this week ...

Asian tanker rates started heading downhill this week after two months of stability, Singapore brokers said yesterday.

"It's softened quite a bit since last week," said one clean tanker broker from a major international broking house. "There's no cargoes and lots of ships on the spot market are coming open for early July."

He pegged the benchmark route from Singapore to Japan at W285 ($18.67 per tonne) for 30,000 tonne cargoes. "Older tonnage, non-approved tonnage, might go for cheaper, say W280," he added.

Brokers said the route had remained stable at W295 ($19.33 per tonne) since the start of May, but fell to W290 on Friday before weakening further over the weekend.

London tanker broker Gibsons warned on Friday of a downturn in clean tanker trades. "Until the volume of product to be shipped increases and longer haul trade returns, the forecast remains bleak in the short-term," it said.

The key Asian long-range trade from the Arabian Gulf to the Far East last week failed to make the gains that had been predicted for it. "We've just seen a 75,000 tonne cargo fail at W232.5, so that puts last done back down at W230 ($29.30 per tonne)," said a Singapore broker.

Last Tuesday brokers pegged the trade at W235 ($29.94 per tonne). This followed a major improvement on May figures, when the trade hit a low of W185 ($23.57 per tonne).