Large tanker rates are soaring for Middle Eastern oil as charterers rush to grab ships for September cargoes before they run out, brokers said late last week. Rates lifted another 10 points with W140 quoted by Thursday afternoon for a modern VLCC to South Korea ($13.50 per ton), while U.S Gulf levels were said to be around W110-115 ($19.00 per ton).
Four or five older vessels were also on subjects for one charterer to sail west out of Mina al Bakr at around W100 ($17.25 per ton), but brokers said half might fail if there was only a couple of stems to be covered.
"Far Eastern charterers have come in a week earlier than expected and western charterers are also very active," a broker said. "We are seeing phenomenal rates because there are so few ships left for August after so many were fixed away in July for August liftings," he added.
West African rates were also going through the roof with W150 ($13.00 per ton) expected for a VLCC to the U.S. "There is stacks going on for September with lots of cargoes in," another broker said. "But not all will get their subjects lifted."
Korean charterers were especially active, one said, and prepared to pay top prices.
Rates would keep climbing due to the pressure on available tonnage while oil producers kept up maximum production levels and importers continued to scramble for barrels, brokers said.