The week started slowly with owners initially content to fix ‘last done’ but as the activity increased in the Middle East Gulf, owners have become more bullish and rates for 270,000 tonnes for long east have increased from around WS 82 to WS 89.75 with Unipec taking Hakata at this level. Shorter runs to Singapore/Thailand have now been covered at WS 94.5 and WS 94.75 respectively, whereas earlier in the week Exxon paid WS 88 for Singapore discharge. Going west, 280,000 tonnes was fixed at both WS 50.5 and WS 51.5 cape/cape, with WS 54.5 paid by Exxon on Suez/Suez basis.
In West Africa, Indian charterers have been active, leading to a tightening in the position list and, aided also by the firming Middle East Gulf market, rates for 260,000 tonnes to China have firmed accordingly from WS 77.5 at the start of the week to around WS 82.5/83. Caribbean to Singapore has held steady at $6.95 million.
It has been an active week in West Africa with good levels of enquiry also from EC South America which has thinned the tonnage list causing rates to edge up modestly from around WS 77.5 to WS 80/82.5 level.
Turkish straits delays of 6/8 days each way mean that Black Sea rates have held steady at WS 102.5, while Chevron fixed a run to Korea at $4.5 million. Socar took Minerva tonnage for 135,000 tonnes from Ceyhan to UK-Cont-Med at WS 85.
The market has continued to firm with Turkish straits delays leading to charterers needing to fix further ahead and Chevron took Nissos Anafi at WS 135 for 13 January loading from CPC. In the Mediterranean, Ceyhan cargoes have been fixed around WS 127.5/130, while Vitol paid WS 130 from Algeria/UK-Cont-Med for end December loading. Exxon are understood to have taken V8 Stealth from Sidi Kerir at WS 110 basis 100,000 tonnes cargo.
In the North Sea, rates for 80,000 tonnes to the UK-Cont have been stable at between WS 110/112.5, while cargoes for the Baltic have remained unchanged at WS 82.5.
It has been another tough week for owners trading the 70,000 tonnes Caribs up coast market as a plentiful supply of early tonnage saw rates drop from low WS 120s a week ago, down to WS 95, although with the sustained activity thinning the list somewhat, owners have been able to push the market up modestly to sit now at WS 100.
Off the Continent, both charterers and owners seem happy to have ‘cleared the decks’ in the run up to Christmas/New Year and the market has been steady at WS 125 with charterers now looking at January requirements.
A slow week has seen the market for 37,000 tonnes from Continent to USAC drift down from around WS 120 to WS 105. Exxon did manage to cover a cargo at WS 100 but this was on a ship coming from drydock, thus a discount was obtainable.
It has been a volatile week in the 38,000 tonnes backhaul trade from the US Gulf, with tonnage more than sufficient to satisfy demand, leading to a drop from WS 90 to low/mid WS 80s before rebounding in spectacular fashion to sit now at WS 110.
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