Rates in the Middle East Gulf have held around WS 67.50-70 level for 270,000 tonnes to South Korea/China. For trades going west Bahri managed to cover 280,000 tonnes to the US Gulf on two ships early this week at WS 35/36 (cape/cape basis), but later in the week Litasco reportedly took Athenian tonnage from Basrah for west options only at WS 42 (cape/cape), although they would have paid some premium for the options. The owners’ cause is still being helped by ongoing storage interest with rates varying from $42,500 daily to rumoured high $40,000s.
Rates in West Africa have remained largely unchanged for the benchmark 260,000 tonnes to China, at WS 68. Elsewhere in the Atlantic fuel oil business from Rotterdam to Singapore has been concluded at $6.35 million with charterers understood to be paying port costs at load port. Socar reportedly covered a Ceyhan/Singapore trip at about $7/7.1 million, and the Caribbean/Singapore run continues to perform strongly with rates remaining steady at $7.3 million, although there is a rumour that Glasford might have paid $7.65m.
Rates for West Africa to Continent after initially holding at WS 92.5 came under pressure as tonnage numbers increased. Consequently Total were able to conclude at a lower WS 88.75 although it is now believed this deal may have failed on subjects. The Black Sea has eased markedly from WS 97.5 earlier in the week down to WS 85 with one charterer reported to have taken up to five ships at this level. This softer sentiment has subsequently seen suezmaxes on part cargo endeavouring to muscle in on the Med aframax market.
In the Mediterranean, an active start to the week saw rates firm considerably with the week’s high being WS 165, although this was for Libya load which incurs a premium due to the current political problems. Thereafter levels peaked at around WS 140 and rates are now coming under pressure as suezmaxes struggle and seek coverage also by playing the aframax market accordingly.
In the Baltic, rates have dropped dramatically for ice class tonnage, with ENI understood to have paid WS 120 for SCF tonnage – representing a drop of almost 40 points from the start of the week. With maintenance in Primorsk and a lack of cargoes in first decade February, this fall in the market was only to be expected. The 80,000 tonne cross North Sea market is just about holding at WS 127.5 though with lower levels of enquiry for early February and a lengthening tonnage list, the feeling amongst brokers is that rates in the north may well come under further downward pressure.
In the Caribbean, for 70,000 tonnes going up coast, rates have eased back to WS 137.5/140 but the owners’ cause here has been helped by fog in the US Gulf creating uncertainty on itineraries and helping halt any further weakening here.
It has been a good week for panamax owners with levels being fixed around WS 155 for 55,000 tonne cargoes from Continent to the US Gulf and ice business from Baltic/transatlantic paying WS 170 plus.
It has been a disappointing week for owners as a lack of enquiry combined with a build-up of tonnage has seen levels for MR tonnage fall from WS 142.5 at the start of the week to barely WS 130 and lower levels likely. The 38,000 tonne backhaul route from US Gulf to UK-Cont has also struggled with rates easing from WS 92.5 down to low WS 80s.
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