Tanker Demand Could Receive a Welcome Boost In the Coming Weeks

The tanker market could receive a very welcome boost in the coming weeks and months, mainly in the Middle East to Asia benchmark routes. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Intermodal said that “following the oil price sell off during most of August, partly triggered by oil demand fears amid the delta COVID variant, oil prices have resumed their upward trend since August 20th. Brent futures have been trading higher over the past couple of weeks, with hurricane Ida idling US Gulf oil production and providing support. In addition, traders saw a buying opportunity following the OSP price cuts into Asian refineries. Positive news on Covid developments and also Chinese data suggesting crude oil inventories stand at the lowest level since June 2020 are also interpreted as bullish for oil consumption and economic momentum ahead”.

According to Intermodal’s Tanker Broker, Mr. Apostolos Rompopoulos, “numerous countries in Asia Pacific are easing certain Covid-19 restrictions, such as Thailand, New Zealand and Hong Kong, while the South African variant slowed in August according to scientists, all supporting oil demand expectations. Generally, Europe has emerged as a “center of strength” for road fuels demand as the economies opened during the summer period, where people have naturally used more road transportation vs air during the travel season. Nevertheless, according to real time traffic data, European road fuels demand dropped by around 5% or 3-400,000 bpd m/m in August that had a slow start, from the recent peak in July. However, recent news are positive for Brent as European traffic has been picking up by two percent over the past two weeks. Overall, global road traffic congestion levels continue to pick up over the past two weeks, a trend that has emerged since mid-August. Robust gasoline demand and low inventories in both sides of the Atlantic Ocean also lend support to light-sweet crude benchmarks such as Brent”.

“Additionally, we have noted that the Chinese crude imports rose to a five-month high of 10.5 million bpd in August, driven by state backed oil refineries. The question is whether this trend in China’s crude imports will remain upwards in the coming months. That is a difficult question to answer, as it also depends on government policies on quotas and use of strategic reserves, as per analysts’ consensus.

The Asian market seems to have the potential for an increase in crude oil imports from Middle East as OPEC+ releases production, while US crude oil production is lagging behind along with refinery activity after the recent hit of Hurricane Ida. The hurricane Nicholas following this week is yet to show its effect, but overall it looks like the oil supply tightness in the West is exacerbating, which increases the call on OPEC+ to satisfy rising crude oil demand projected through the 4th quarter of the year”, Mr. Rompopoulos concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

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