In the Middle East Gulf, the market has continued to soften. After Japanese charterers fixed 270,000 tonnes to Japan at WS 42.5, Chinese charterers have been able to cover at WS 40, while the Koreans SK reportedly fixed the Newton at WS 35. Short haul to Singapore was fixed by Exxon at WS 42 on DHT tonnage, before SPC fixed Hua San at WS 41 with all these fixtures basis 270,000 tonnes cargo. Going west rates for 280,000 tonnes to the US Gulf are still hovering around WS 24 cape/cape.
The West Africa market has also dropped. With a couple of suppliers having recently declared force majeure, less activity is expected, and with the softening in the Middle East Gulf attracting tonnage to West Africa, rates have slipped around 1.5 points to WS 47.5 with potential to ease further here, especially with Indian charterers fixing two ports West Africa to EC India at the equivalent of just below WS 44. In the North Sea, fuel oil from Rotterdam to Singapore is understood now to have been fixed at $2.9 million. In the Caribbean rates have similarly come under downward pressure and Glasford are said to have paid $3.1 million to Singapore with China discharge at around $4.0 million, while runs to WC India appear steady at around $2.5 million.
In West Africa, a healthy supply of tonnage has led to a 7.5 points drop in rates. Petrogal were initially able to cover a short run to Portugal on Alaska at WS 50, before Chevron subsequently fixed at WS 47.5 to Europe. With a very weak suezmax market in the Middle East Gulf, tonnage open in the east, is looking to fix from West Africa just adding to the tonnage list, enabling charterers to squeeze rates further. The negative sentiment in West Africa is also being felt in the Mediterranean/Black Sea with Chevron understood to have taken Besiktas tonnage from CPC at WS 57.5 basis 135,000 tonnes.
In the Mediterranean, a healthy tonnage list means the market remains under pressure as charterers are able to pick and choose with the market hovering around WS 72.5 with Black Sea at similar levels. Some longer haul cargoes are even attracting suezmax interest , highlighting the weakness of the suezmax market and a Minerva suezmax has done an 80,000 tonnes cargo from Algeria to Cochin at $1.35 million.
Limited enquiry in the north has seen further weakening, with rates in the Baltic, losing a further WS five points with last done here now at WS 57.5, while in the 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea market, rates, after initially settling at WS 85, remain under downward pressure with levels now being assessed in the low WS 80s.
A slow week in the Caribbean has seen tonnage starting to build and rates have now slipped back to around WS 80 level.
On the Continent, a more active week has enabled owners to regain some lost ground with the market for 55,000 tonnes from ARA to the US Gulf rising around 7.5/10 points to low/mid WS 90s while a prompt Med replacement cargo is understood to have achieved WS 100.
In the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade, a lack of enquiry combined with a healthy position list, has seen rates drop around 10 points to WS 90 level. Nor is there any respite for owners playing the 38,000 tonnes backhaul route to Europe where rates have lost around two points and are presently hovering between WS 57.5/60 level.
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