The earlier that crude tanker owners reported earnings, the more confident they were as they looked to close out the year.
The New York-listed duo of International Seaways and Teekay Tankers both reported in early November, disclosing a significant chunk of revenue days left to book in the fourth quarter as rates climbed into a seasonally strong period.
“Look at the percentage. It’s actually a pretty low percentage of the fourth quarter,” International Seaways finance chief Jeffrey Pribor said on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, referring to the days booked so far for the last three months of the year.
“Every company is going to be a little different based on accounting and the particular voyages, their experience, but there’s a lot of core left based on what we reported at this point.”
When International Seaways reported on 7 November, the company had 51% of its VLCC days booked at $33,400 per day and 52% of its suezmax days at $38,200 per day.
Teekay Tankers — which reported on 2 November — said its suezmax fleet was earning just $26,500 per day, but had 68% of days left to book for the fleet.
“The current reported rates from Clarksons are now sharply higher, which speaks to the tightness in the tanker market and the effect of increased seaborne crude volumes,” chief executive Kevin Mackay said.
“As voyages agreed during the latter part of [the third quarter] and early October, are completed and replaced by those reflecting the more recent higher spot market, we expect our own spot rate results to strengthen as we move further through the quarter provided rates remain firm.”
VLCC rates closed out the typically weak third quarter at $36,800 per day on a fleet-weighted average basis, according to Clarksons, while suezmaxes finished at $33,800 per day.
Rates skyrocketed as the calendar turned into the fourth quarter and the market looked towards a seasonally strong period.
On 7 November, when International Seaways reported earnings, Clarksons VLCC fleet weighted average had leapt to $67,800 per day and suezmax rates to $70,400 per day.
Since, suezmax rates have come back down to earth, falling to $54,200 per day on Wednesday, while VLCCs slipped to $64,200 per day.
Other crude tanker owners, which reported earnings later in November, had similar rates and more days booked.
Euronav reported $36,000-per-day rates for its VLCCs with 84% of days in the Tankers International pool booked. Its suezmax fleet was reported to be earning $42,000 per day with 72% of days booked.
Suezmax specialist Nordic American Tankers reported average earnings of $43,160 per day with 73% of days booked.
Figures for both companies were published on 29 November.
On 30 November, Frontline reported VLCC rates at $48,100 per day with 81% of days booked and $50,300 per day with 70% of days booked for its suezmax fleet.
But those figures are accounted for a load-to-discharge basis and do not account for ballast days, which could drag on rates.
Overall, the tanker market remains at levels not seen since mid-June, with the Baltic Dirty Tanker Index rising two points to 1,173 on Wednesday.
The index remains higher than it was in early December 2020 and 2021, but lower than the above 2,000 figures seen last winter.
The outlook for the market remains strong, as well, with owners continuing to trumpet a low orderbook holding fleet supply down and rising oil demand pushing the need for tankers up.