The market in the Middle East Gulf has been steady this week – levels for 270,000 tonnes have held at around WS 60 for long east while Singapore discharge has been covered at around WS 62/62.5. At the start of the week a low fixture was done at WS 49.5 for 274,000 tonnes to Onsan but this was for a ‘handicapped’ ship on its maiden voyage, so would not be considered a true reflection of the market. Going west, Athenian tonnage went to Valero for 280,000 tonnes to the US Gulf at WS 35 cape/cape.
In West Africa, trips for 260,000 tonnes to China have been fixed at WS 60 with both Petroineos and Unipec covering at this rate while Chem China are understood to have the ‘Maran Thetis’ on subjects at or very close to this level. Caribbean to Singapore has remained steady at around $5.7 million. Off the Continent, Shell fixed and failed a Hound Point/Korea run at $7 million.
In West Africa, it has been a slower week. Levels were initially holding at WS 80 for Europe discharge, but there is weaker sentiment in the market, borne out by Petrobras who are understood to have covered a short run to Brazil at WS 79 while US Gulf discharge has reportedly been fixed at WS 75. With a long weekend approaching, charterers have been endeavouring to tempt owners at WS 75 as they start to work third decade position.
In the Black Sea, Chevtex took Besiktas tonnage for 135,000 tonnes to Europe at WS 81.25, while Gazprom covered on SKS tonnage at WS 80 for 140,000 tonnes. There remains outstanding enquiry for fuel oil going east but disagreement as to where the market lies here.
From the Mediterranean, Petrogal are understood to have agreed WS 74.5 for 135,000 tonnes from Ceyhan to Portugal.
There has been no ‘conference rate ‘ in the Mediterranean this week. Ceyhan has been steady at around ws110/112.5. Libya saw rates of WS 125 paid for Med discharge while a straight Algeria/Pembroke trip went on Shell tonnage at WS 97.5. As the week draws to a close, combined with the upcoming long weekend, the market has a softer feel to it. In the Black Sea, Chevtex reportedly took two ships from Black Sea at WS 117.5 for UK-Cont-Med discharge but ENI are now understood to have taken Tsakos tonnage at WS 100 for 80,000 tonnes from Black Sea albeit to UK-Cont only.
The market has fallen in both the Baltic and North Sea. The Baltic started the week in the very low WS 100s but has now dipped down to high WS 80s although this was not unexpected with a lighter May program and upcoming maintenance there. In the North Sea, rates for 80,000 tonnes for trips to UK-Cont have eased further to WS 120 and there remains further downward pressure.
In the Caribbean, a healthy tonnage list helped absorb some of the flow of enquiry early in the week, but with the market having subsequently slowed and there still being a good choice of tonnage , charterers are firmly in the driving seat with rates having dropped to WS 97.5 for 70,000 tonnes going up coast.
It has been an active week and with charterers now working up to 20 May position, owners have managed to achieve WS 125 from Continent to the US Gulf for 55,000 tonnes.
An active week on the Continent has seen the tonnage list tighten and rates have firmed accordingly for 37,000 tonnes from Continent to USAC. After being stuck in the low WS 140s, owners first managed to push rates to WS 150 and there is now a report of Exxon paying WS 165 for Port Jerome loading although there are restrictions here which limit the choice of workable tonnage.
In the US Gulf, rates started the week around WS 105 but the steady supply of ballasters has taken its toll and after Exxon covered at WS 97.5, there is now a report of WS 90 being agreed here.
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