All eyes on China for tanker market in 2015

The outlook for the tanker market for 2015 will depend on whether the Chinese will continue to build up stocks given the conducive low oil price conditions currently, said ICAP Shipping head of tanker research Stavroula Betsakou.

Speaking at the Asian Logistics and Maritime Conference in Hong Kong, she went on to add that a lot of this would depend on whether they will continue to build up strategic petroleum reserves as they did in the summer of 2013, which then led to the VLCC rate spike in the fourth quarter of that year.

Likewise a lot will also depend on whether the Chinese decide to draw down on their commercial stocks.

“If they did decide to draw down then we would be seeing Chinese crude imports fall,” she said.

Betsakou also noted that consistency of demand is needed to maintain a rise in rates.
Braemar co-head of research Henry Curra meanwhile noted that while much of the outcome of 2015 will be a matter of market timing, there is still a fundamental overtonnage situation in the market if slow steaming is stripped out. He suggested that would lead to big spikes in the market but it would still return to a relatively low base.

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