Clarksons Research is forecasting big rises in crude and product tanker demand this year, but the picture could change due to ongoing Chinese lockdowns and economic uncertainty.

The research arm of UK shipbroker Clarksons said tanker market conditions have improved notably in recent weeks after an extended period of weak rates in the sector since mid-2020.

Big premiums remain on offer for Russian loadings, with earnings above $200,000 per day on some routes.

But broader strength has emerged as well, with average suezmax earnings topping $60,000 in the first half of April, up from $30,000 in March and $10,000 in January and February.