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Record Gas-Tanker Glut to U.S. Seen Continuing as Demand Slows

The surplus of tankers available to haul European gasoline across the Atlantic Ocean is set to remain at the highest in at least a year as U.S. demand slows, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

As many as 63 Medium Range vessels may be available for the voyage over the coming two weeks to July 18, the median estimate of six shipbrokers, traders and owners who specialize in transporting gasoline showed today.

Demand to charter ships to haul road fuel cargoes across the Atlantic to the U.S. is expected to remain slow, the consulting arm of Oslo-based shipping-services company Astrup Fearnley said in an e-mailed report today. Tankers carrying gasoline on the benchmark Rotterdam-to-New York trade route are earning $1,068 a day, according to the London-based Baltic Exchange. That’s compared with returns of $20,899 a day at the start of the year, according to exchange data.

“There does not seem to be any light in the tunnel in the weeks ahead for vessels trading on the continent,” Fearnley said in the report. “The larger tonnage are not unscathed with a very quiet market and few deals concluded.”

Twenty-three tankers were hired or expected to be chartered for the two-week period, the survey showed. That’s four more than last week.

The vessels booked or due to be hired would be able to haul about 7.23 million barrels of the fuel, or 517,000 barrels a day. That’s 75 percent of the 688,000 barrels the U.S. imported daily over the past year, according to the Energy Department.

The survey is based on so-called single-voyage, or spot, charters and excludes loadings under longer-term contracts. It assumes shipments to the U.S. East Coast from northwestern Europe. Each tanker would normally haul about 37,000 metric tons of gasoline, or 315,000 barrels.

Following is a table of vessels chartered and likely to be hired for the trans-Atlantic voyage loading over the two-week periods from the dates shown. The table also displays the number of ships available to be booked.

*T July 5 June 27 Change Vessels Hired 10 11 -9% Vessels Likely to be Hired 13 8 +63% Total 23 19 +21% Available Vessels 63 63 -- *T

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