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Last updateΠεμ, 18 Αυγ 2022 7am

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Xclusiv Shipbrokers: Market Commentary

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During the last months we have witnessed the return of the dry market, both on freight and S&P, but now the wet market awakens and it can be said that we are witnessing the rise of VLCCs.

Many times, we have referred and pointed out that the tanker fleet is set to shrink in the coming years as not only the order book is at the lowest point since June 2000, but also the new contracts in 2022 so far are not as many as previous years. Especially in the size of VLCC tankers, only 41 vessels are on order, with 21 of them scheduled for delivery in 2022 and 20 vessels planned for delivery in 2023-2024. If we consider that 61 active vessels are over 20 years and about 150 VLCCs between 16 and 20 years old, we can see that the possibility of a VLCC fleet reduction in the coming years is quite high.

Meanwhile, sanctions against Russia have given a big boost to seaborne exports of US crude, which are nearing all-time highs at 4 million barrels per day, with forecasts for an increase to 4.5 million barrels per day in 2023. This will certainly test the capacity limits of the VLCC fleet and combined with the forecast of a fleet reduction from 2023-2024 and beyond, makes a push of freight rates to higher levels than today more than obvious. If the fact that the additional demand for American crude is expected to come mainly from Asian countries is also taken into consideration, then the rise of VLCCs is here to stay.

VLCC freight rates have already gained an upward momentum for about a month now. Although lockdowns in China due to the pandemic had pushed VLCC rates into negative ground for months, now the main routes have returned to northern territories and they are probably staying. On 22nd of July the TD1 was USD -17,903, 52% increased since 24 June and 47% increased since 20th of May while the TD15 is at USD 10,829, having risen 188% since 24 June and 196% since 20 of May. Accordingly, the increase in freight rates and the prospect of even higher levels in the future has also boosted the prices of VLCCs in the S&P market. Considering the high price of a newbuilding VLCC (about USD 120 mills) and the tight berth availability, it’s strange that secondhand prices are moving north. Thus a 5-year VLCC is now priced at USD 82 million, while a month ago it was at USD 77 million and a year ago at USD 72. Accordingly, a 10-year VLCC is now priced at USD 57 million dollars, while a month ago it was at USD 54 million and a year ago at USD 50 million.

But it’s not only the VLCCs, as the S&P activity in the tanker sector has increased significantly within the past 3 years, as a total of 325 vessels are sold YTD, an increase of around 36%, 121% & 71% compared to the same period of 2021, 2020 & 2019 respectively. A considerable increase in the volume of transactions of Ice classed tankers has taken place. Specifically, since the beginning of 2022, shipowners have shown a great interest in ice-classed tankers as 59 of such vessels have changed hands. This number is more than significant if we consider that during the entire financial years of 2021 and 2020 only 41 and 26 ice-classed tankers were sold respectively. That increase within 2022, has mainly been witnessed in MR1 & Aframax segments, with 30% of the Ice-classed sales involving MR1 sector, while 22% are Aframaxes.

Furthermore, this increased interest for ice class tankers is also translated to a rise in second-hand prices. For instance, we can see the increase of the secondhand prices on Ice-classed 2005- 2006 built Aframax & MR1 vessels from 2020 till now. The value for a South Korean 15-year-old Aframax was region USD 14 mills in 2020, while now a 17-year old Aframax costs around USD 24.7 mills, which equates to a 76% increase. In the MR1 sector, prices have improved around 33%, as a 15-year-old S. Korean vessels valued around USD 9 mills in 2020, whilst a 16-year-old S. Korean ship is worth today around USD 12 mills.

The BDI closed the week at 2,146 points mark, down by 0.19% since 18th July. Meanwhile BCI closed the week at 2,696 points mark, down by 7.64%, BPI closed at 2,093 points mark, up by 11.03%, while BSI and BHSI also moved to northern grounds at 2,080 points mark and 1,211 points mark respectively. On the wet indices, BDTI closed the week with an increase of 8.47% at 1485 points and is having a series of 5 positive days. On the contrary, the BCTI closed the week with a decrease of 4.78% at 1316 points mark and 5 uninterrupted negative sessions.

Sale and Purchase:

It was a quiet week in the dry S&P market with only a handful of transactions to report. On the Ultramax Sector, the BWTS fitted “Dayang Confidence”- 63K/2017 Yangzhou Dayang was sold for USD 30 mills to Chinese buyers. On the handysize sector, Vietnamese buyers acquired the BWTS fitted “Global Aquarius” - 28K/2010 Imabari for high USD 14 mills.

On the other hand, activity in the wet sector remains strong. On the VLCC sector, the “Kioni”- 310K/2004 Imabari changed hands for USD 29.5mills basis delivery WAF. Moving down the sizes, clients of Advantage Tankers acquired the “Dolviken” - 159K/2012 Samsung for USD 42.5 mills. On the Aframax sector, the “Nicholas”- 116K/2007 Sasebo was sold for USD 27.7 mills basis surveys & BWTS freshly passed to Chinese buyers. The BWTS fitted & Clean trading MR2 “Largo Sun” - 50K/2016 SPP invited offers earlier this week and finally committed at USD 35 mills to Greek buyers. Furthermore, the clean trading & BWTS fitted “Grand” - 50K/2008 SPP was sold for USD 19.2 mills basis prompt delivery to Vietnamese buyers. Last but not least, 4x BWTS fitted MR1, the “Atlantic Sirius” - 37K/2010 HMD, the “Atlantic Symphony” - 37K/2009 HMD, the “Atlantic Jupiter” - 37K/2009 HMD & the “Atlantic Canyon” - 37K/2009 HMD yard found new owners for USD 68 mills enbloc.

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