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Tanker Glut Seen Near Five-Month High Amid Demand Speculation

The glut of supertankers competing for 2 million-barrel cargoes of Persian Gulf oil stayed near a five-month high amid speculation demand growth for the vessels is poised to weaken.

There are 23 percent more very large crude carriers for charter over the next 30 days than cargoes, according to the median estimate of seven shipbrokers and owners in a Bloomberg News survey today. The excess reached 24 percent last week, the biggest since Sept. 5.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, cut output for a third consecutive month in January, according to production estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The nation’s reduced supply is likely to curb demand for tankers during the first half of 2012, RS Platou Markets AS, an Oslo-based investment bank, said in a report it sent by e-mail yesterday.

Daily losses for VLCCs on the benchmark Saudi Arabia-to- Japan voyage narrowed to $5,009 yesterday from $5,661 on Feb. 1, exchange data showed. The bourse’s assessments, which turned negative on Jan. 24, don’t take into account the fact the vessels can cut speeds to lower fuel costs.

Demand strengthened yesterday because Chinese traders were booking additional vessels before the Lunar New Year holidays, Marex Spectron Group, a London-based commodities brokerage, said in an e-mailed report today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rob Sheridan in London at rsheridan6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net

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