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Tanker Rates Surge as Mideast Cargoes Rise Before OPEC Deal

  • Benchmark day rates for oil tankers at highest since June
  • Tanker surplus in Persian Gulf matches lowest level in a year

Oil tanker rates jumped to a four-month high as traders booked the most cargoes for the time of year on record, offering signs that Middle East producers could be adding barrels to the market just before OPEC embarks on its deepest output cuts in eight years.

Day rates on shipments from the Middle East to Asia jumped to $47,479 while a surplus of crude tankers in the Persian Gulf matched the lowest level in a year, Baltic Exchange and Bloomberg surveys showed. Traders booked the most one-off, or spot, cargoes for the month of October in at least 12 years, according Galbraith’s Ltd., a London-based shipbroker.

“The suspicion is that there’s an extraordinarily high output from the Middle East ahead of the expected cut decision in November,” Erik Stavseth, an analyst at Arctic Securities AS in Oslo covering shipping companies, said in a phone interview. “We see increased exports from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and also U.A.E.”

Tanker companies are benefiting from a rare confluence of events boosting the global supply of crude before the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries prepares to cut output to steady...