It has been another positive week for VLCC owners. A heavy programme from Basrah for the first decade in October, saw a surge of enquiry from charterers, and combined with delays in both China and India, the tonnage list thinned somewhat. In the Middle East Gulf rates for 270,000 tonnes going long east have gained over 13 points with WS 63 having been agreed and rumours circulating of WS 65 now on subjects. Going west, levels have firmed by at least 7.5 points with reports of WS 35 cape/cape being done to US Gulf basis 280,000 tonnes.
In West Africa, rates have similarly benefitted with charterers struggling to find tonnage. IOC have re-quoted twice now for WC India discharge while HPCL are understood to be on subjects for EC India discharge at $5.2 million. West Africa to China is now being assessed at WS 60, whereas end last week Gloric was reported on subjects at WS51.5.
Off the Continent fuel oil runs from Rotterdam to Singapore have been covered at both $4.75 and $4.95 million respectively while an sts Skaw/Singapore run has also gone at $4.95 million.
The improvement has unsurprisingly been felt in the Caribbean where early in the week, a Singapore run was covered at $4.75 million while there are now reports of a longer voyage from EC Mexico to Japan going at $7.4 million.
Fuel oil traders showed more interest off the Continent for trips going east and this combined with a firmer VLCC market and a significant number of outstanding cargoes in West Africa, saw rates finally firm from a settled WS 57.5 up to WS 65 paid for Triathlon by Total.
Black Sea has been steady with last seen here being Yasa Southern Cross to Chevron at WS 60. In the Mediterranean a short Algeria/UKC-Med run is understood to have been covered by Total on Mikela P at around WS 67.5-70 respectively while a long voyage from Ceyhan to Ningbo is said to have gone at $3.45 million.
The Mediterranean has seen a very active week but with the market here swamped with tonnage, rates have remained under pressure and have even softened marginally from WS 75 down to WS 70/72.5 level.
The September program in the Baltic is all but covered now and there were reports of an outstanding cargo there receiving seven offers. Consequently rates have suffered and are presently hovering around WS 57.5/60 level. The 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea market has been steady throughout the week at WS 85.
In the Caribbean/up coast trade, an active week has enabled owners to push rates up from WS 102.5 to WS 110.
With a continued weak panamax market in the Caribbean which presently sits in the high WS 70s, there is no shortage of ballasters to the Continent. This is keeping a lid on rates here, where the market remains around WS 87.5 for 55,000 tonnes from ARA to US Gulf.
The market for 37,000 tonnes from Continent to USAC has suffered as a lack of enquiry combined with plentiful tonnage saw rates ease from WS 110 at the start of the week down to barely WS 100. In contrast the backhaul trade for 38,000 tonnes has been extremely active as the diesel arb to the Continent opened up – subsequently rates have soared from WS 95 a week ago to around WS 150.
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