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Oil tanker rates rebound

As the recession eases and oil demand rises, day rates in the oil-tanker market have rebounded. But the sector's susceptibility to volatility should not be underestimated, writes Martin Clark

AFTER SEEING 12-month-high price spikes in the December to January period, there is a better feeling in the tanker markets this year. "Oil demand is forecast to rise on the back of stronger economic growth. This means expectations are higher than 2009," says Steve Christy, research director at EA Gibson, a shipbroker. The market certainly started 2010 on a bullish note, with rising spot rates, mostly in response to higher crude prices and stronger demand. Very large crude carrier (VLCC) spot earnings surpassed $100,000 a day briefly in January, the highest level since October 2008, in part because of extremely cold weather in Europe and North America. Nonetheless, the sector's susceptibilit

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