Crude ton-miles began the year trending below the five-year average, but since VLCC exports began to rise in June, growth has been rapid. While the order of the major VLCC routes has been consistent compared with previous years, there have been upheavals in the Suezmax and Aframax markets following the Russian war in Ukraine. Crude tanker demand is on course to finish the year on a high, but the prospects for next year are less rosy.
Oil markets have rallied last week despite a yet still hawkish tone from Jerome Powell, the FED governor. Rumours around China potentially lifting its sticky zero-covid policy have helped propel front-month prices for Brent by 6% in four days to just under $99/bbl. However, markets could be jumping the gun too early. Chinese authorities have tempered some hope about a turnaround in the country’s zero-covid policy.