From an owners’ perspective, it has been a positive week in the Middle East Gulf. Owners held their nerve and achieved significant gains. Whereas a week ago the market for long east voyages was around the mid WS 60s, we have seen a run to Japan paying WS 73.75 basis 270,000 tonnes of cargo. For 280,000 tonnes to the US Gulf, Bahri are reported to have taken a couple of ships at WS 33 cape/cape. Midweek we saw WS 37.5 paid here, but that was for a ship giving both east and west options so able to command a premium.
The firmer market in the Middle East Gulf has had the expected knock-on effect in West Africa which continues to be supplied with tonnage almost exclusively ballasting from Asia. This time last week the rate had dipped below WS 60 on the benchmark 260,000 tonne West Africa/China run, but we now understand last done here is WS 64, while a shorter trip to Indonesia was covered at WS 72.5. Off the Continent, a fuel oil cargo has been covered at $5.6million for Rotterdam/Singapore. In the Caribbean, which continues to outperform other areas, levels are around $7.25 million for Singapore discharge.
In West Africa, excess availability of early tonnage saw rates slide further, with levels now looking settled at WS 75 for UK-Cont discharge. USAC discharge has reportedly been covered at both WS 75 and WS 77.5.
In the Black Sea, the pressure on charterers has eased with Turkish straits delays reduced to around 3/5 days each way. The market is holding at between WS 82.5/85 as a result of decent activity. There also continues to be regular enquiry for long haul business going east which is helping to thin the tonnage list.
In the Mediterranean, rates started the week at WS 95. However, due to a surge in enquiry which saw the tonnage list thin out rapidly, rates moved up to WS 115, then to WS 122.5 and today owners are expressing ideas of WS 150. This uptick in rates is also now enticing interest from suezmaxes which may put a cap on rates for those voyages where suezmaxes are workable.
In the Baltic, despite poor weather, rates have now settled at WS 82.5, although owners will be hoping to see the rise in Med rates filter through to the north. The 80,000 tonne cross North Sea market has firmed modestly to WS 105.
The Caribbean/up coast market for 70,000 tonne cargoes has come under pressure and rates seemed to find a new level at WS 112.5 although we now understand WS 110 has been agreed.
Levels for 55,000 tonnes to the US Gulf have firmed and WS 137.5 fixed and failed here but with the Caribs/up coast panamax market firm, ballasters from USAC have taken local business, and the tonnage list is tight for the balance of December.
MRs on the Continent going transatlantic for 37,000 tonnes have regained lost ground. On the back of good levels of enquiry, rates rose from the low 180s at the start of the week back to WS 205 with good levels of enquiry for pre-Christmas laycan.
In the US Gulf, the market for 38,000 tonne cargoes has dropped 10/15 points but levels are still healthy at WS 145 as enquiry on other routes helps trim the list.