In the Middle East Gulf, it has been a quieter week, with the market waiting for Saudi stem confirmations. With a lighter program for the first decade from Basrah the market has drifted down to WS 80 for long east basis 270,000 tonnes cargo while 280,000 tonnes requirements to US Gulf have been paying between WS 48/50 level. Irving are presently looking for tonnage for EC Canada discharge and have five offers down to WS 57.5 but nothing has been concluded so far.
It has been a similar story in West Africa, with a softer sentiment in the market, although a replacement cargo to Taiwan was reported covered at WS 84.5. In the Mediterranean Bahri are understood to have paid WS 80 on 280,000 tonnes, for a short Sidi Kerir/Rotterdam run. The Caribbean continues to be the star performer with runs to Singapore edging further up to around $7.75 million with the strong market even enticing ballasters from the Far East.
The ongoing loading issues in Nigeria have led some owners to prefer cargoes loading elsewhere in West Africa, although that said rates have generally been steady in the very low WS 80s for Europe discharge.
Enquiry from the Black Sea has seemingly been confined to eastern direction with China discharge said to have been covered at approximately $3.75 million. For shorter voyages to Europe, levels are still being assessed in low/mid WS 80s.
The Mediterranean market has been steady with WS 95 paid from Ceyhan and BP reportedly paid WS 97.5 for replacement tonnage. However with the tonnage list now tight and a number of outstanding Black Sea cargoes, brokers feel there is potential for rates to push in to the low WS 100s.
In the Baltic, a slow start to the week saw the market dip down to WS 85. Thereafter renewed enquiry for both crude and fuel saw the market regain lost ground to WS 90 with owners now said to be aiming for WS 95. The North Sea has shadowed developments in the Baltic with an initial softening to WS 100/102.5 level before recovering to settle at WS 105.
The Caribbean/up coast trade has had a slow week and rates have lost another five points to WS 105 level.
Off the Continent, the market for 55,000 tonnes to the US Gulf has firmed with WS 102.5 paid for end October loading and subsequently achieved a further improvement to WS 105 with owners now talking levels of WS 110/115 and expressing similar ideas for Mediterranean loading.
Despite a relatively thin tonnage list, a lack of enquiry has led to a rather lacklustre week in the market for 37,000 tonnes from Continent to USAC with rates settled at WS 100.
For owners playing the 38,000 tonnes back haul market, it has been similarly slow going with rates hovering in the low to mid WS 60s.
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