Freight rates for supertankers on the Mideast Gulf and U.S. Gulf routes to Asia sink to their lowest since mid-September as the coronavirus outbreak hit Chinese demand, Reuters reports.
"The market has gone back to what it was before the COSCO sanctions came in," one ship broker says. "All the other variables have gone away, such as IMO 2020 congestion at ports, movement of low-sulfur fuel and industrial action in Europe."
The rate for a very large crude carrier from the U.S. Gulf to Asia dropped to $8M, the lowest since Sept. 19, according to ship broker Braemar; another ship broker, Riverlake, said the world scale rate for the Middle East route was at its lowest since Sept. 16.
Chinese refiner Sinopec reportedly is cutting throughput this month by ~12%, or 600K bbl/day, in its steepest cut in more than a decade.
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