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Some time ago, BIMCO expected the first signs of a solid recovery in the oil tanker industry to appear in the product tanker market. However, like other soon-to-arrive recoveries, the waiting time tends to increase as we approach the expected tipping point. This time around, global refinery throughput started the year strongly but entered a still running soft patch in May, high volumes but shorter hauls out of the US Gulf, and the steady inflow of new ships were part of the cocktail that prevented freight rates from taking off big time.
The recent optimism has fortunately not completely evaporated following the latest series of less positive economic indicators from across the globe, including India, the US, Brazil and Spain. The EU debt situation creates a lot of uncertainty, not only as regards economic development but also regarding the political situation on both sides of the Atlantic Basin.