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Wednesday, 29 May 19
SHIPPING MARKET INSIGHT - INTERMODAL
IntermodalReflecting on the first quarter of 2019, the product tanker market was healthy, with average earnings significantly up compared to the first quarter of last year. However, the strong start of the year has been followed by a seasonal softening. Despite the 10% fall of the clean spot MR earnings in January (m-o-m basis), the earnings averaged at mid teen levels. The opening of some arbitrage windows, like the East to West movement of naphtha cargoes, healthy trade patterns in general and a solid growth in US exports were the main driving factors.
 
During February, the market eased back with the Chinese New Year holidays rendering a very quiet market in the East; however, average earnings for the first two months were still a lot higher compared to the same period in 2018. In March, unplanned refinery outages in the US, led to increased gasoline imports to the East and West Coast US, while West Africa’s demand growth also contributed in what was a strong earnings’ month in the western hemisphere. In the East, Middle East’s and India’s improvements stand out, with demand for Indian coastal business opening up to non-Indian flag ships.
 
Indicatively, below are the earning figures of some major product tanker owners in all sizes combined, for the first quarter of 2019. SCORPIO achieved average rates of $18,570/day, TORM achieved average rates of $17,949/day while Damico’s blended TCE was $14,057/day.
 
Being always a good indicator for spot market expectations,  the one-year-time charter rates for the MR size  have been gradually improving, settling at the end of Q1  at around $14,000/day and $15,500/day for conventional and Eco MRs, respectively.
 
As far as Q2 is concerned, April and May saw a slowdown for most of the product tanker markets, while LR2 earnings have remained relatively flat. A major factor of this slowdown has been the seasonal refinery maintenance in Europe, US, Middle East and Asia, which is currently at its peak.
 
The remaining segments experienced a fall in spot earnings and with Owners remaining bullish on TC rates, period business activity slowed down as charterers were assessing the earnings potential going into next year.
 
Looking forward, many tanker market participants have strong faith that certain short term and longer term fundamental developments will act as game changer for the product tanker market. Much has been said about the increase in refinery capacity and the new IMO 2020 regulations that will push the market to improved levels in the coming years, with some expecting to see this uptrend starting as early as in the second half of 2019.
By Stelios Kollintzas
Tanker Chartering Broker

Compiled by:
Intermodal Research & Valuations


Analysts:
Ms Eva Tzima

George Panagopoulos


Disclaimer and legal disclosure: For any further queries please do not hesitate to contact our Research & Valuations Department. The information contained in this report has been obtained from various sources, as reported in the market. Intermodal Shipbrokers Co. believes such information to be factual and reliable without making guarantees regarding its accuracy or completeness. Whilst every care has been taken in the production of the above review, no liability can be accepted for any loss or damage incurred in any way whatsoever by any person who may seek to rely on the information and views contained in this material. This report is being produced for the internal use of the intended recipients only and no reproducing is allowed, without the prior written authorization of Intermodal Shipbrokers Co.

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