In the Middle East Gulf, it has been a slow week with charterers drip feeding the market with enquiry. The result, combined with a lighter programme for first decade from Basrah has led to charterers being able to fix 270,000 tonnes at WS 60 on 2011 built tonnage, representing a fall of around 18 points from a week ago. Unsurprisingly, west rates have eased around five points with Exxon now reported to have paid around WS 37.5 on 280,000 tonnes basis Suez/Suez routing.
It has been a similar story in West Africa, with WS 70 being fixed for China discharge. However with the significant drop in the Middle East Gulf, rates here remain under pressure. West Africa to WC India saw a drop of around $600,000 this week with last done here being close to $5.3 million basis two to one. North Sea has been slow but Vitol are understood to have paid $8.15 million for a Hound Point/South Korea run. The Caribbean remains the star performer with runs to Singapore being covered at around $7.75 million with a run to China reported fixed at $9.1 million.
After an initial dip down to WS 77.5, the West Africa market has held steady in the low WS80s, while status quo has been maintained in the Black Sea with rates holding at around WS 82.5 for 140,000 tonnes. A 130,000 tonnes cargo from Algeria/UK-Cont-Med run is understood to have been fixed by Petroineos at WS 82.5 and WS 87.5 respectively.
An improving market in the Mediterranean and Black Sea has seen rates rise from high WS 90s to WS102.5 from Ceyhan and WS107.5 level from Black Sea. There has also been renewed enquiry from Libya with WS 110 paid here. With ongoing uncertainty surrounding ships coming from Trieste, combined with a tighter position list with some tonnage being ex drydock, and thus less preferred, brokers feel there is potential for further firming here.
In the north, it has been an uneventful week with 100,000 tonnes from Baltic/UK-Cont being fixed at WS 90 while 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea has been maintained at around WS 105/107.5 level.
The Caribbean/up coast trade has been plagued by ullage and lightering delays in the US Gulf and rates have edged up around five WS points to WS 110 with charterers willing to pay for tonnage in a safe position.
Off the Continent, the market for 55,000 tonnes to the US Gulf has held steady throughout the week at WS 110/112.5 level but with the Caribbean panamax market softening, this has led to more potential ballasters to UK-Cont, helping charterers keep a cap on the rates.
A slow week has seen the market for 37,000 tonnes from Continent to USAC hold steady at WS 100. In contrast, the owners playing the 38,000 tonnes back haul market have benefitted from a very active market, successfully pushing rates up to WS 100, representing a gain of around 35 points from the start of the week.
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