Oil-Tanker Surplus Reached Lowest Level Since January This Month

A surplus of the largest oil tankers seeking cargoes in the Persian Gulf reached the lowest level since January this month, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

On average, there were 20 percent more very large crude carriers for hire over a 30-day period than cargoes available to load in April, the median estimate in a survey of six shipbrokers and owners today showed. That matched the January excess, according to figures compiled by Bloomberg.

Crude shipments by sea will rise 2.2 percent this year, Morgan Stanley said in a report yesterday, cutting its estimate from 2.9 percent. Shipping demand will expand 3.3 percent, the bank said, less than the previous 3.9 percent projection. The global tanker fleet will swell 4.4 percent, spurred by 5 percent growth in VLCC capacity, according to Morgan Stanley.

The “four-week vessel count is not getting any shorter at 95,” Kevin Sy, a Singapore-based freight-derivatives broker at Marex Spectron Group, said of the Persian Gulf in an e-mailed report today. “Tonnage is well supplied for now.”

VLCCs are losing $1,188 daily on the industry’s benchmark Saudi Arabia-to-Japan route, according to the London-based Baltic Exchange. Returns became negative again on March 28 after VLCCs lost money on the journey for seven weeks through March 14, exchange data show. Each of the ships can hold 2 million barrels of oil.

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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