Oil & Gas

27 Oct 2020

LNG Tanker Rates Soar Ahead of Expected Cold Asian Winter

27 Oct 2020  by Reuters   

Shipping rates for liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers have soared to their highest in a year ahead as demand for cargoes rose on expectations of a colder than expected winter in North Asia, shipping and trade sources said on Monday.

The daily charter rate for shipping LNG on a 160,000 cubic metres tanker in Pacific and Atlantic basins are currently estimated to be about $85,000 to $105,000 a day.

Rates rose by $23,750 a day on Friday, the biggest daily rise since last October, said Tim Mendelssohn, managing director at Spark Commodities. Mendlessohn listed severeal reasons for what would have been an increase of around 29 per cent.

"Strengthening cargo prices, an increasing arbitrage, no planned U.S. Gulf Coast cargo cancellations and a more bullish winter sentiment are driving charterers to secure LNG tonnage across both basins," he said.

"This is translating into significant increases in spot and front month freight rates in both the Atlantic and Pacific."

Asian spot LNG cargo prices rose to their highest since January on Friday on the back of firm demand from North Asian buyers ahead of a colder than expected winter, traders said.

Monthly LNG shipments into North Asia are set to rise to their highest since January, primarily driven by a jump in demand from South Korea, shiptracking data from Refinitiv Eikon showed.

There are also expected to be no cargo cancellations from the United States, after dozens of cancellations earlier this year, shipbrokers said.

"Everyone's holding on to their ships and are not sub-letting," one of them said.

LNG shipping rates are expected to improve further next year as demand recovers in the region once recovery from the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, said analysts from Jefferies Shipping Weekly.

"We believe the LNG shipping market will improve in 2021 relative to a weak 2020 as global demand for LNG recovers post-COVID, especially in Northeast Asian markets," they said in a note on Monday.


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