It has been another volatile week in the Middle East Gulf. Whereas last week charterers were scrambling for tonnage, this week has seen very limited enquiry for third decade of April and rates have fallen dramatically. A new building is reported to have gone to Taiwan for 270,000 tonnes at WS 59.5, representing a fall in the market of around 30 points compared to a week ago. Even allowing for a discounted rate for a maiden voyage, owners’ confidence has largely evaporated and the few cargoes that have been quoted have seen charterers with plenty of tonnage to choose from. Going west, rates for 280,000 tonnes are now marked down to around WS 40 in contrast to the high WS 50s of a week ago. Owners’ cause is not being helped by a number of previously delayed ships berthing at their discharge ports, boosting supply significantly.
It is a similar story in West Africa with the market losing around 15 points with China discharge now assessed in the low/mid WS 60s. Earlier in the week, IOC fixed and failed at $4.5million for two ports W Africa/Paradip but the cargo dates changed and this was subsequently re-fixed at $3.85 million. In the Caribbean, a run to WC India is understood to have been covered at $4.4 million while a US Gulf/Singapore trip fixed and failed at $5.5 million. In the North Sea, fuel oil from Rotterdam to Singapore is understood to have been fixed at $4.8Million with crude from Hound Point/South Korea going at $6.0 million.
In West Africa, the market has edged up modestly from WS 75 to WS 77.5 for voyages to UK-Cont-Med with USAC also going at WS 77.5. April positions are thinning out and there have also been a number of deals concluded to the East in the low/mid WS 90s. The Black Sea has been steady at WS 80 basis 135,000 cargo quantity. There has been steady enquiry in the Mediterranean. A short Sidi Kerir/Greece deal was fixed at WS 82.5 basis 135,000 size while a long run to Balikpapan, with restrictions is said to have paid $3.4 million.
In the Mediterranean, with plenty of early tonnage around, rates have fallen dramatically losing around 17.5 points and have settled now in the low/mid WS 80s. A longer voyage from Sidi Keir to Portugal, which tends to attract a lot of interest even went at WS 75.
In the Baltic, a build-up of tonnage saw rates ease from WS 100 down to WS 90 before ST managed to drag the market further down to WS 85 which has now been done a couple of times. The 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea market has also lost around 10 points to settle at around WS 115 level.
Although it has been a busy week in the Caribbean, rates for 70,000 tonnes to the US Gulf have held steady at around WS 90. However with relets now fixed away, the tonnage list is somewhat tighter and brokers feel there is potential for the market to firm.
From ARA to the US Gulf, with tonnage looking tight and a healthy amount of enquiry, rates for 55,000 tonnes have risen 10 points to WS 115 basis with potential to increase further.
In the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade, the market has been steady in the very low WS 100s. Exxon covered at WS 100 but this was on a vessel discharging in the loadport. Shell are now understood to have Citrus Express on subjects from ARA to USAC at WS 105. There has also been a lot of enquiry for West Africa discharge with rates here around WS 155 and this has helped thin the tonnage list significantly.
On the 38,000 tonnes backhaul run from US Gulf/UK-Cont , the market has held steady throughout the week at WS 105.
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