In the Middle East Gulf, the market has been steady this week. The rate for 270,000 tonnes initially dipped to WS 49 for South Korea discharge, but thereafter levels remained largely unchanged. GSC did fix at WS 45 for a cargo to South Korea, but this was on a ship coming from dry dock.
For China-Japan discharge rates hovered in the very low WS 50s with Exxon managing to fix at WS 50 for the run to Singapore but rates have since shown a modest recovery. Total took the DHT Eagle at WS 55 for Singapore area and WS 52.5 for further east.
Going west, the market for 280,000 tonnes has been steady at WS 27 Suez/Suez or WS 28 cape/cape.
Rates for 260,000 West Africa to China eased slightly with Unipec reportedly taking a ship at WS 52 for loading 12 April. Off the UK-Continent, fuel oil rates dropped significantly from $6m down to $5.7m and culminating in Clearlake paying the Azumazan to $5.35m.
The Caribbean has largely been slow. Mercuria reportedly fixed Bhari tonnage for US Gulf to Singapore run at $6.725m.
In West Africa, rates initially eased as charterers held back. The market fell to the mid WS 90s early in the week, but a rush of early April cargoes combined with a finely balanced tonnage list saw rates recover. Statoil took the Fairway at WS 102.5 and since then Trafigura reportedly paid the Sikinos WS 105 with both cargoes for around 3 April loading.
A very active market in both Caribbean and South America saw a dozen or more ships taking this option further depleting the West Africa tonnage list. Tankers have even ballasted from Europe to the Caribbean to trade the up coast market with rates at WS 110-112.5 for 150,000 tonnes to US Gulf.
In the Black Sea, rates slipped below WS 100 with talk Transway booked Gungen tonnage for a slightly larger 140,000 tonnes at WS 97.5 with the 135,000-tonne cargoes fixed at WS 100. However a firmer West Africa market could impact on the Black Sea and push rates up.
In the Mediterranean levels appeared a touch firmer with Litasco taking the Pink for 135,000 tonnes at WS 105 from Ceyhan to UK Cont-Med.
In the Mediterranean, the market softened during the week as a healthy tonnage list combined with minimal Turkish straits delays and a lack of enquiry saw rates fall to WS100 for conventional voyages. Libya loaders continued to pay a premium of around 7.5/10 points more.
Today firmer rates were reported with in both the Black Sea and Ceyhan with Shell and Socar respectively paying WS 107.5 here for Mediterranean discharge.
As the ice loses its grip in the Baltic, rates for 100,000 tonnes no heat, slipped further settling now at WS 77.5 while the 80,000 tonne cross North Sea market remained unchanged at WS 95.
The sheer volume of tonnage in the Caribbean market for 70,000 tonnes going up coast, and despite delays in Houston, resulted in rates falling to WS 165/167.5.
The market from Continent to US Gulf remained unchanged at around WS 125 for 55,000 tonnes to US Gulf. The panamax market in the Caribbean dropped sharply to WS 150 and brokers said rates here may drop further with ballasters adding to the competition.
The market for 37,000 tonnes from Continent to USAC initially slipped to WS 152.5 but the market rallied mid-week to WS 160 as strong enquiry thinned out tonnage list. A replacement cargo was subsequently covered at WS185 which appeared to be the catalyst for owners and this number has now been repeated for a ‘normal position’.
The 38,000 tonne backhaul route from US Gulf to UK Continent was steady at WS 117.5/120 as healthy levels of enquiry to South and Central America helped trim the tonnage list aided by the stronger Continent/Transatlantic market.
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