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Middle East Oil-Tanker Glut Seen Unchanged in Shipbroker Survey

Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- A surplus of the largest crude oil-tankers available for loading in the Middle East will stay unchanged over the next two weeks, according to a Bloomberg News survey of shipbrokers.

There are 20 percent more very large crude carriers for hire over the next 30 days than there are cargoes, according to the median estimate of seven shipbrokers and owners in a Bloomberg News survey today. That’s the same as last week, the data showed. The average surplus of the tankers this year is on course for the lowest since at least 2009, survey data showed.

VLCCs are earning $16,860 on the benchmark Middle East-to-Asia voyage, according to the London-based Baltic Exchange. That’s a 2 percent decline since the start of the month and down 40 percent from the November high.

The exchange’s assessments don’t reflect speed cuts aimed at reducing fuel costs, the biggest expense for owners, who can boost returns by slowing tankers on return journeys after unloading cargoes. The cost of marine fuel, or bunkers, declined to a six-day low of $608.82 a metric ton today, data compiled by Bloomberg from 25 ports showed.

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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