In the Middle East Gulf, a lull in activity following the long weekend has led to the market coming under pressure. Rates here have dropped significantly with China discharge being fixed at WS 63.5 basis 270,000 tonnes on Delta Millenium, although there is a suggestion this vessel may be scheduled for dry dock in China. However S-Oil did also manage to cover on Spyros at WS 62.75 basis 280,000 tonnes for Onsan discharge. Otherwise rates for long east have varied between WS 66.5 and WS 69.75. After PTT took C Dream at WS 71 for Thailand discharge, a short run for Malacca discharge subsequently saw Petronas agree WS 70, all basis 270,000 tonnes.
In West Africa, which is predominantly supplied by ballasters from Asia, rates have softened in tandem with the weaker Middle East Gulf. For China discharge, Unipec took the Kos at WS 69 and Sandra is now understood to have gone to Unipec off 1/3 July at WS 67 basis 260,000 tonnes. North Sea has been quiet and the fuel arb appears to be closed. The Caribbean/Singapore run has held steady at $7.3 million with charterers having to look over a month ahead for suitable tonnage. However with more tonnage coming open in the UK-Cont, brokers feel this could lead more ballasters to the Caribbean which may impact on rates here.
In West Africa, rates have continued to soften with the market from very low WS 100s a week ago down to WS 95 for Europe discharge, while P66 reportedly took Euronav tonnage to the US Gulf at WS 92.5 with USAC at WS 95.
In the Black Sea, it has again been a slow week. After Chevtex covered a Black Sea / Singapore run on Spyros K at $4.2 million, shorter haul within Europe has seen very limited enquiry though Litasco are understood to be countering at WS 95 for 140,000 tonnes off 12 June. Cross Med on 130,000 tonnes has been fixed at WS 105.
Despite the long weekend, the Mediterranean has held steady throughout the week with good levels of enquiry helping sustain levels here with both Med and Black Sea being covered at WS 137.5/140 level.
A healthy tonnage list combined with a lack of enquiry has seen rates from the Baltic for 100,000 tonnes continue to soften with last done to UK-Cont being covered at WS 95, representing a drop of 12.5 points from a week ago. It is a similar story for short hauls in the North Sea with the market easing around 20 points to now sit at WS 122.5.
In the Caribbean, the market for 70,000 tonnes going up coast initially held steady at WS 125, before a downward correction as tonnage built up saw WS 117.5 paid from Mexico and WS 112.5 subsequently agreed for Caribs load.
With a stronger panamax market in the Caribbean enticing potential ballasters to stay local, the market for 55,000 tonnes from Continent to the US Gulf has again held steady with levels still around WS 122.5/125, with tonnage looking tight here for first half June.
It has been a volatile week for owners here with rates for 37,000 tonnes from Continent to USAC initially dropping down to WS 150 before regaining lost ground to WS 170 as healthy levels of enquiry thinned the tonnage list, with Baltic/UKCont enquiry to the fore here.
Rates for 38,000 tonnes from the US Gulf have been steady throughout the week holding at WS 100 level, though again here, the enquiry has predominantly been for Central and South America discharge.
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