Crude Shipments Seen at Six-Month High as OPEC Output Expands

Crude-oil shipments jumped to a six-month high as Asian demand will probably lead the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to expand output, according to Morgan Stanley.

Bookings of oil tankers from the Middle East, the largest loading region, rose 27 percent from last week to 79 million barrels, 55 percent above the prior four-week average, Fotis Giannakoulis, a New York-based analyst at the investment bank, said in an e-mailed report today. Asia-bound cargoes accounted for two-thirds of the charters, he said.

The hires helped rates for very large crude carriers on eastbound voyages rise 22 percent last week, reaching $10,000 a day for the first time in three months, according to Giannakoulis. Seasonal demand accounted for most of the increase, with spot bookings in the last four weeks down 14 percent compared with a year ago, he said.

“Crude chartering activity increased sharply last week to the highest level in over six months,” Giannakoulis said in the report. “OPEC production is likely on the rise, with Far East flows driving the incremental demand.”

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