The Middle East Gulf remained a tale of two halves with rates initially falling and then regaining ground as the week closed out. Idemitsu fixed at WS 50.5 for 270,000 tonnes to Japan, S-Oil, with 10 offers in, agreed WS 40.5 for 274,000 tonnes to Onsan and GSC agreed WS 41.5 to South Korea – the latter two ships both ex dry dock. Similarly going west rates dropped almost 10 points over the week with WS 27.5 agreed down for 280,000 tonnes to the US Gulf and a ship ex dry dock fixed WS 26 Cape/Cape. However these lower rates enticed charterers back in the market and with ex drydock tonnage largely cleared out, owners regained lost ground. PTT reportedly fixed Maran tonnage to Thailand at WS 50 then the Kokkari went at WS 52.5 and Day Harvest fixed a ship at WS 55 both for China and all basis of 270,000 tonnes cargo.
A similar story in West Africa with WS 59 reported fixed for China discharge, Athenian tonnage agreeing WS 60 with Unipec for 1-3 December loading then rates recovering to WS 67.5 as the DHT Falcon fixed at that level with a Chinese charterer.
The Caribbean outperformed the rest with a trip to China covered at $9.0 million and others seeing $7.75 to $7.8 for the shorter runs to Singapore. Caribbean/west coast India rates remained unchanged at $6.45 million.
An active week in West Africa with rates jumping sharply as the week closed out. A surge of enquiry resulted in Cepsa paying WS 115 for Gungen tonnage off 20-21 November from the low WS 80s. The Caribbean market absorbed tonnage both for shorter up coast and long haul trips taking further tonnage away from West Africa.
In the Mediterranean a positive week for owners with Petrogal covering 130,000 tonnes from Sidi Kerir to Portugal at ws 93.75. Petroineos was understood to have covered 130,000 tonnes from Algeria to French Mediterranean at WS 105. In the Black Sea, delays in the Turkish straits of around four to five days each way combined with good levels of enquiry saw rates rise to WS 98.5 from the low-mid WS 80s. Chevron paid WS 98.5 for 135,000 tonnes for mid-November loading. The firm Black Sea and Mediterranean markets also led to upward pressure in West Africa.
The market maintained last week’s gains in the Mediterranean and Black Sea with levels steady at around WS 107.5 with owners also benefitting from the straits delays.
Increased activity for both crude and fuel in the Baltic saw rates rise to WS 100 for 100,000 tonnes up from the low WS 90s. The North Sea moved in tandem gaining around 7.5 points to sit now at WS 115.
A replacement cargo in the Caribbean was the catalyst for a firmer market with WS 135 paid – a 20 point rise. Ullage and weather delays enabled owners to maintain the gains.
Off the Continent, the market for 55,000 tonnes to the US Gulf held steady throughout the week at WS 110/112.5 as a tight/firmer Caribbean panamax market enticed a number of potential ballasters to stay local.
An uneventful week saw the market for 37,000 tonnes from Continent to USAC steady at WS 100/102.5. The volatility in the 38,000 tonnes backhaul market was again evident with rates here falling dramatically to WS 70 down from WS 100 at the start of the week.
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