The Middle East Gulf market has remained firm with WS 90 agreed on 270,000 tonnes for a short run to Singapore. Subsequently, Unipec paid WS 95 for long east and WS 57.5 to US Gulf basis Suez/Suez routing. With a number of cargoes needing wide options in the market, combined with ullage delays and bad weather in the Far East, this is contributing to the firm state of the market and further depleting the tonnage. Similarly, West Africa has again benefitted from this uncertainty, and with charterers there forced to work over a month ahead to secure tonnage, Unipec took Samco Amazon off 14 November at WS 79.5, and CPC agreed WS 83.75 for 11/13 November laycan for Taiwan discharge, while a shorter voyage to East Coast India is understood to have been covered at $7 million.
The Caribbean East trade has strengthened further with $7.3 million now agreed for Singapore, an increase of $150,000 from the start of the week.
A very active week in West Africa saw rates edge up from high WS 70s to the WS 80/82.5 level, though there is now talk of Shell having been able to cover a run to Europe at WS 77.5. However, an active Caribbean market for both up coast and long haul to the East has seen tonnage open their focus more on this business rather than ballasting to West Africa, thus trimming the list somewhat here, with brokers still assessing West Africa to Europe at around WS 80 level.
With healthy levels of enquiry both in the Black Sea and in the Mediterranean, the market has firmed around 10 points, with 140,000 tonnes being covered at WS 85 from Novorossisk while East Med loadings for discharge in Fos and Sines have been covered at WS 85 and WS 82.5 respectively, basis 135,000 tonnes.
A sudden surge of enquiry early in the week saw the Mediterranean market increase dramatically from high WS 60s to around WS 97.5 as tonnage quickly thinned, and there is a report of an Algeria/UK-Cont run now being covered at WS 100.
In the North, it has been a good week for owners as Baltic rates for 100,000 tonnes firmed around WS 20 points to settle at WS 92.5. The North Sea moved in tandem, rising quickly from low WS 90s to sit now at WS 105, although more enquiry will be needed to sustain owners’ optimism here.
The Caribbean/up coast trade saw a slowdown in enquiry, and rates eased around 12.5 points to WS 110, as a healthy tonnage list enabled charterers to force the market down accordingly.
Off the Continent, the market has remained steady at around WS 87.5/90 level, but with potential to firm as the tonnage list is now very tight, and firmer aframaxes on the Continent are now less keen on looking at this trade.
It has been another volatile week in the market for 37,000 tonnes from Continent to USAC with rates rising to WS 112.5, and simultaneously WS 102.5 is understood to have been paid, so is very much date sensitive and voyage dependent.
For owners playing the 38,000 tonnes back haul market it has been one way traffic, with a surplus of tonnage seeing rates drop dramatically with last done here reportedly at WS 62.5, representing a drop of around 12.5 points over the week.
For daily tanker market assessments from the Baltic Exchange please visit www.balticexchange.com/market-information/