Singapore - Supertanker freight rates eased this week as surging demand for floating storage cooled and crude oil output is set to fall, but rates could jump again as fewer tankers become available and as traders take advantage of weak oil prices, sources said.
Tanker rates jumped earlier in the week after U.S. WTI crude futures for May turned negative ahead of their expiry for the first time ever on Monday as desperate traders paid to get rid of oil, prompting a spike in demand for tankers able to store it for sale at higher prices at a future date.
Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) rates for floating storage have recently traded at about $120,000-$130,000 per day for a six-month charter period, trade sources said.
This compared to rates of about $85,000 per day for a six-month period before WTI crude turned negative, the sources said.
Spot VLCC rates for the Middle East to China route were at about $9.8 million on Friday, lower than the $11.5 million on Thursday but above the $8.9 million on Monday prior to the collapse in U.S. WTI crude oil prices, trade sources said.