Rates from the Middle East Gulf have been in free fall this week, losing over 30 points for destinations in the East and over 11 points going west due to a light January program here and also in West Africa, combined with more available older tonnage, new buildings and vessels ex dry dock.
In West Africa, the market has dropped around 30 points for China discharge, with last seen here being Athenian tonnage fixed to Unipec at WS 70. For a run to EC India, SCI tonnage is understood to have agreed $4.1 million. With the lack of activity here and in the Middle East Gulf, tonnage has started ballasting towards the Caribbean area putting downward pressure on rates there which dropped from around $7.8 million a week ago, initially to $7.55 million and there is now a report of $6.5 million being agreed for Singapore discharge. Off the Continent, $6.25 million was agreed on subjects for fuel from Rotterdam to Singapore but this subsequently failed and there is now a report of Litasco covering a similar run at around $5.4 million.
With the January program now covered in West Africa, rates have come under downward pressure and have eased from a high of WS 115 to now settle in the high WS 90s. In the Black Sea, a lack of enquiry, combined with shorter delays in the Turkish straits of around five days each way have seen rates nudge down from WS 140 for replacement tonnage, down to WS 125 which was agreed by Chevron for Besiktas tonnage.
In the Mediterranean, a slow week has seen rates ease 7.5/10 points with WS 105 agreed from Ceyhan, while Black Sea is fixing at WS 107.5/110 level. With the reduction in Turkish straits delays, charterers have been under less pressure to fix ahead and this has also had a negative impact, with more ships available in the fixing window.
In the North Sea, rates for 80,000 tonnes to the UK-Cont have held steady at around WS 115. In the Baltic, despite the freezing temperatures, the market remained stagnant at around WS 92.5/95 level, with third decade maintenance in Primorsk leading to around 10 less cargoes not helping owners’ cause here.
The Caribbean market has been the one area of encouragement for crude owners and an active week here saw rates gain around 12 points to WS 130/132.5 level, although a lull in enquiry at the end of the week saw rates ease very modestly with WS 127.5 being done. Mexico loaders are still obtaining WS 135 due to a lack of early tonnage open in US Gulf.
Off the Continent, it has been an uneventful week with rates at around WS 140 for 55,000 tonnes from ARA back to the US Gulf.
Enquiry for ice class tonnage at the start of the week led to charterers looking further ahead for coverage on the Continent, leading to a modest increase of around five points with the market settling now at WS 155 for 37,000 tonnes from Continent to USAC.
For the backhaul trade from the US Gulf, rates on 38,000 tonnes to UK-Cont have eased from WS 110 to WS 100 with plenty of tonnage around to satisfy demand which has tended to be more for shorter trips to central and South America rather than for European discharge.
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