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Record number of China-bound supertankers hints of stockpiling

London

THE number of supertankers sailing to China jumped to a record in ship-tracking data amid signs that the oil-price crash is spurring the Asian nation to stockpile.

There were 83 very large crude carriers bound for Chinese ports, according to shipping signals from IHS Maritime compiled by Bloomberg on Friday morning. The ships would transport 166 million barrels, assuming standard cargoes, the largest number in data starting in October 2011. The cost of hiring the vessels surged to the highest in almost five years, according to Baltic Exchange data.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), a Paris-based adviser to 29 nations, said in a report on Friday that China may have added to strategic...

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