China’s return as a big buyer of crude is helping to firm the outlook for a recovering VLCC sector, shipping analytics company Vortexa believes.

Senior freight analyst Ioannis Papadimitriou said earnings have now managed to surpass the levels achieved in the second quarter following the invasion of Ukraine, hitting two-and-a-half year highs.

“The surge in rates is partially tied with China’s comeback in purchasing more crude after a very weak summer period,” he said.