With delays still prevalent both at discharge ports in China and also for loading at Basrah, the tonnage list of ships with reliable itineraries thinned significantly leading to rates for 270,000 tonnes for short east being fixed at WS 92.5, and long east in the high WS 80s representing a gain of around 17.5 points from the start of the week. Similarly, going west, rates have gained around 20 points with WS 57.5 being agreed for the US Gulf. Irving did pay WS 63.75 for EC Canada discharge but this was apparently for a replacement cargo loading 14 April.
West Africa has benefitted accordingly with WS 72.5 initially fixed for China and then WS 77.5 was paid by CPC for Taiwan discharge but this was on a 2000 built vessel ex-drydock and the feeling is that more modern tonnage is assessing China discharge in the mid WS 80s. Indian charterers covered two ports load to WC India at the equivalent of around WS 84.5 and also split a couple of VLCC cargoes from West Africa to India with the strong sentiment being maintained as charterers start looking at May positions. Off the Continent, fuel oil from Rotterdam to Singapore is said to have been covered at $4.75 million, while brokers evaluate Caribs/Singapore at around $5.7/5.8 million.
In West Africa, despite the short week, healthy levels of activity saw the market rise 2.5 points to WS 75 and with owners resisting fixing outstanding cargoes at last done levels, there is potential for a modest further increase. However, brokers feel that with the healthy tonnage list in the Mediterranean, this could limit any significant increase in West Africa. Black Sea rates have been steady throughout the week at WS 80 basis 135,000 tonnes.
In the Mediterranean, a lack of enquiry, combined with a build-up of tonnage has seen rates come under downward pressure. An early April cargo was covered from Ceyhan at WS 117.5 but a short cross Libya run was fixed at WS 105 basis free d/a’s and today brokers assess the market at barely WS 100 for 80,000 tonnes. A fuel oil cargo from Med to USA is understood to be on subjects at WS 70 basis 100,000 quantity.
In the Baltic it has been a volatile week, with the market for 100,000 tonnes cargo initially gaining around 10 points to WS 105 but deals at this level subsequently failed and rates eased back to WS 100. The 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea market rose on the back of the firmer Baltic and a tight end March cargo was covered at WS 145 but this was deemed more of a ‘one off’ fixture and levels have subsequently settled at WS 125.
Although tonnage has been tightening in the US Gulf, there has been no impact so far on rates with the market for 70,000 tonnes from Caribbean to the US Gulf settled at WS 90 level.
Off the Continent, it has been an uneventful week with rates holding steady at WS 105 basis 55,000 tonnes from ARA to the US Gulf.
In the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade, it has been a more active week. With plenty of enquiry to West Africa also taking tonnage off the list, rates have risen 7.5 points to WS 100 with potential to firm further.
On the 38,000 tonnes backhaul run from US Gulf/UK-Cont , it has been an active week, with the market on date sensitive cargoes initially firming from WS 111 to WS 115 with highs of WS 122.5 being done before easing back to settle at around WS 110.
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