In the Middle East Gulf it has been another difficult week for owners , as they have had to contend with a number of less preferred ships, which are either ex dry dock, new buildings or alternatively over 15 years old. For these ships, the market for 270,000 tonnes going long east has dropped further down to around WS 40, with an extra two/three points achievable for other tonnage. Going west, Shell paid WS 27 cape/cape for 280,000 tonnes to the US Gulf though this also had east options included hence the premium paid here. Exxon, for a straight US Gulf discharge fixed at WS 24.75 Suez/Suez for 270,000 tonnes while Irving took the Polymnia ex drydock for 280,000 tonnes loading 10 July at WS 24.5 cape/cape to EC Canada.
In West Africa rates have softened further with WS 51 being fixed by Unipec on both NS Lemos and Frontline tonnage, before Unipec took Antigone at WS 48.5/49 level. With West Africa to EC India being fixed at the equivalent of around WS 46.5, this further easing on long haul to China is not unexpected. Off the Continent, fuel oil fixed and failed at $3.0 million from Rotterdam to Singapore, while a Hound Point to Korea run went at around $4.75 milion down from previous levels of $5.15 million. From EC Mexico to Singapore, BW tonnage is said to have agreed $3.85 million with South Korea at $4.25 million, while the market for Caribs to Singapore still hovers in the region of $3.5/3.6 million.
In West Africa, rates have been under pressure as a lack of enquiry and build-up of tonnage take their toll. The market here has eased here around 2.25 points with levels now around WS 67.25 for UK-Cont discharge, while Monroe covered an Akpo/Philadelphia run at WS 65. The Black Sea market initially benefitted from steady enquiry and replacement business with rates rising around five points to WS 87.5 before easing back to around WS 85 and rates here remain under pressure. In the Mediterranean, Total are said to have taken Aegean tonnage for 135,000 tonnes from Ceyhan to Donges at WS 77.5. Subsequently, however, Repsol were able to cover a Sidi Kerir/Spain run at WS 67.5, also basis 135,000 tonnes.
In the Mediterranean, the market has been under renewed downward pressure. A market quote which created considerable interest saw rates ease around 10 points to WS 92.5. Chevron subsequently fixed from Ceyhan at WS 91.25 on Sigma Integrity while Black Sea was covered at WS 95. However brokers feel that with a number of third decade cargoes from CPC yet to hit the market, there is potential for rates to subsequently start a modest recovery.
The start of the week saw a downward correction in the Baltic, with the market losing around WS 7.5 points to settle thereafter at WS 77.5 basis 100,000 tonnes while a similar lack of enquiry in the 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea market eased from WS 107.5 a week ago to sit now at WS 100 level.
Minimal enquiry in the Caribbean, combined with plenty of early tonnage and the 4 July holiday lead to a lackluster week with rates steady at WS 82.5. A lack of transatlantic business here and the poor returns in the Caribbean have lead some ships to start ballasting towards Europe.
On the Continent , it has been a slightly better week for owners. BP paid WS 100 for 55,000 tonnes to the US Gulf representing around a 10 point gain from the start of the week. However the market remains very date sensitive and with the weak Caribs upcoast market encouraging tonnage to ballast across, brokers feel for the third decade that rates may cover under renewed downward pressure as tonnage starts to build for this position.
In the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade, modest amounts of enquiry combined with a healthy tonnage list saw rates ease from WS 105 a week ago down to WS 92.5/95 level, while in the US Gulf, the 38,000 tonnes back haul market remains weak, although, on the back of very prompt enquiry, owners have managed to push rates up around five points to WS 70.
For daily tanker market assessments from the Baltic Exchange please visit www.balticexchange.com/market-information/