Fresh cargoes from Middle East Gulf have been slowly coming to the market, which has kept rates under downward pressure. Rates for 270,000 tonnes going long east had been hovering in the low WS 60s but there is now a report of WS 58.5 being agreed for Taiwan discharge. A shorter run to Singapore is said to have been covered at WS 62.5. Going west, rates have been steady at around WS 32/33. Koch reportedly paid WS 35 from Basrah but this was for an early position of 16 February loading.
In West Africa, the market has held steady at WS 65 for China discharge, while in the North Sea, the Nave Electron is said to have gone to Vitol from Hound Point to South Korea at $6.725 million. The Caribbean has eased by around $0.5 million, with Glasford reportedly paying $6.0 million basis Singapore. WC India discharge has seen rates nudge just below $5.0 million.
Although there have been reasonable levels of enquiry in West Africa, rates have lost around 2.5 WS points, as a healthy supply of tonnage has taken its toll with the market now hovering in the mid WS 70s for Europe with US Gulf rates around WS 70, and WS 72.5 was agreed for a run to EC Canada.
Black Sea rates have tended to move sideways with 140,000 tonnes covered at WS 77.5 while later in the week, Chevron covered 135,000 tonnes at WS 82.5. Going east, Trafigura are understood to have paid $2.75 million for fuel oil from Kavkaz to Singapore. A cross Med run for 130,000 tonnes has been covered at WS 77.5.
In the Mediterranean, with plenty of early tonnage to choose from a cargo from, the rate for Sidi Kerir to Portugal fell from WS 90 down to WS 73.5. Rates for Ceyhan loaders have settled in the low WS 80s with Black Sea rates around WS 85/87.5.
In the North Sea, rates have held steady at WS 107.5/110 basis 80,000 tonne cargo. In the Baltic 100,000 tonne cargoes started the week around WS 117.5 but ST managed to cover a Primorsk cargo at WS 100, with this being repeated a couple of times and the market is now looking more established at this level.
The Caribbean market has benefitted from steady enquiry with weather delays in the US Gulf enabling those owners with a reliable itinerary to push rates up around 15 points to WS 125 basis 70,000 tonnes cargo.
Off the Continent, it has been another difficult week for owners with aframaxes remaining competitive for transatlantic runs, and the Caribbean upcoast market has been weak in the low/mid WS 130s leading to tonnage ballasting across. However with the onset of delays in Houston slowing the availability of potential ballasters, brokers feel the market may now have bottomed out at WS 122.5 for 55,000 tonnes from ARA back to US Gulf.
A lack of enquiry, combined with plenty of tonnage to choose from, has seen the market drop further with rates easing from high WS 120s at the start of the week down to WS 120, and there is even a rumour of WS 115 being on subjects but no further details to hand yet.
In the US Gulf backhaul market, levels have been largely unchanged at WS 80/82.5, though the majority of enquiry from the US Gulf remains predominantly geared towards short-haul business to the Caribbean, central and South America.
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