Product Tankers’ Demand Could Fall By 6%
According to Intermodal’s Mr. Stelios Kollintzas, Tanker Chartering Broker, “during the past months, the steep drop in oil products demand caused by COVID-19 had been overshadowed by the developments on oil supply and prices. When Russia and Saudi Arabia, two of the biggest oil producing countries, engaged in a price war back in April, they flooded the market with millions of extra barrels each day, pushing prices to unprecedented lows. At the same time, demand was collapsing. Contango markets were shaped and encouraged traders to buy and store oil on shore and on vessels like never before. Tonnage availability was tight and freight rates climbed to record levels. Indicatively, VLCC earnings reached as much as USD 280,000 per day during April, whereas the ‘clean’ products trade of LR2 and LR1 ships reached about USD 170,000 per day and USD 115,000 per day respectively”.
“However, since then, the market woke up to reality of poor demand for products globally, while at the same time the contango play is no longer attractive with oil prices having moved up to much healthier levels. More and more vessels used as storage are now entering the market, when at the same time refineries around the world are cutting production in order to adjust to poor demand. The effects on the freight market are already evident. At the time of this writing, VLCCs are earning USD 40-50,000 per day, LR2s about USD 20,000 per day and LR1s as low as USD 10,000 per day”, Kollintzas said.
Intermodal’s analyst added that “taking into account that oil products account for about 60% of the transportation demand and that many parts of the world are still under lockdown and face travel restrictions, the outlook for the rest of the year is rather challenging. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that global oil demand will be about 8m bpd lower in 2020 than last year. Major products’ demand such as gasoline and jet fuel are down about 17% and 60% respectively since the beginning of the year and the recovery appears to be slow. In shipping terms, this would be more than 6% decrease in demand for product tankers this year, while the fleet growth in the sector is expected to be about 0.7%. It seems that for as long as the economic impact from the pandemic keeps unravelling, global demand will remain restricted and uncertainty will keep prevailing in the tanker market, adding more pressure to freight rates as a result”, Kollintzas concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide