It has been a week for owners that has flattered to deceive. The upward momentum from last week has eased and rates have largely gone sideways. Charterers have been drip feeding the market with enquiry in their efforts to undermine owners’ confidence and it would appear this tactic has worked. Older tonnage (built 1999) has fixed 270,000 tonnes long east at WS 45 and there is a report of WS 43 being done to Korea on a New Shipping TBN. West rates for 280,000 tonnes to the US Gulf are assessed at around WS 28 cape/cape.
In West Africa rates have been largely unchanged, hovering at around WS52.5 for China discharge, while Indian charterers have fixed at equivalents around WS 49/51 level. Off the Continent, fuel oil was initially covered at around $3.5 million from Rotterdam to Singapore before rates eased and last reported here was at around $3.15 million.
West Africa rates have started to recover, aided by renewed enquiry both in the north and in Med/Black Sea, helping to thin the tonnage list and charterers looking to cover second decade cargoes found themselves with a more restricted choice of tonnage, as rates firmed around two points to WS 70. The Black Sea has similarly benefitted from these improved levels of enquiry and has risen accordingly around six points to settle at WS 81.25 level for 135,000 tonnes.
The Mediterranean market has been under pressure. Charterers have been picking off tonnage and the weaker sentiment has seen rates soften, losing around 11 points since the start of the week, to settle at around WS 107.5.
In both the North Sea and Baltic, the market has eased. Charterers have had a healthy tonnage list to pick and choose from and rates are now down to low /mid WS 80s for 100,000 tonnes from Baltic to UK-Cont, also representing a loss of around 11 points from the start of the week. The weaker sentiment in the Baltic has filtered through to the 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea market where rates are down around 3.25 points to sit now at around WS 108 with the market remaining under further downward pressure.
Although the Caribbean has seen steady activity, a long tonnage list, especially on the early position has seen the market continue to drop, losing around 7.5 points to settle at WS 82.5 level.
On the Continent, it has been another difficult week for owners whose cause is not helped by the weak Caribs upcoast market where levels have dropped to the low WS 90s. This has led to tonnage ballasting across with the subsequent improved supply of tonnage leading to rates dropping to WS87.5/90 level for 55,000 tonnes from ARA to the US Gulf.
In the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade, healthy amounts of enquiry and a tight tonnage list has pushed the market up almost 10 points to settle now at WS 105. In the US Gulf, the 38,000 tonnes back haul market remains weak , although owners have managed to push rates up 2.5 points to around WS 65.
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