Conflicting forecasts were circulating in the Asian clean tanker market during the ninth week of stagnant trading, brokers said. "Next week there
's plenty of ships but there's nothing prompt, so the supply side is looking good, but the demand side is a disaster," said a Singapore broker. "There simply is no demand."
He pegged the benchmark route from Singapore to Japan at W230 ($15.04 per ton) for 30,000 ton cargoes, down 10 points from the middle of last week. "It'll fall another five points before the end of the week," he added. The route touched W300 in June. "Gone are the days of charterers fixing seven or more days ahead. They're just waiting around, taking a chance at picking off the more desperate owners," said another.
Longer term, some brokers were optimistic that trade would pick up across the Pacific, removing ships from the region and tightening up Asian supply fundamentals.
"I don't think it'll go haywire, but maybe it'll pick up a bit," said one Oslo broker. He said Texaco had booked the Dynamic Express for a transpacific cargo. Oslo broker Fearnleys said in a report last week that the effect had already kicked in: "The Far East looked
slightly better, as USWC again starting to take off," it said. Singapore brokers said the Bro Caroline had been booked transpacific last week along with a Mitsui-owned vessel, but dismissed any talk of the trade picking up significantly.
One said that some tanker owners had ballasted to the Mideast Gulf in the hope of picking up cargoes from there for East African destinations. Oslo broker Lorentzen & Stemoco said that trade had remained level at W260 basis 35,000 tons. - (Reuters)