It has been an encouraging week for VLCC owners. In the Middle East Gulf, the market for 270,000 tonnes going long east has risen 7.5 points to WS 39.5/40 level while rates for 280,000 tonnes to the US Gulf are now assessed at around WS 24.25 cape/cape representing a two point gain from a week ago. For a shorter west voyage,Total fixed 280,000 tonnes at WS 30 from Basrah to UK-Cont via Suez. A new building is said to be on subjects at WS 21.5 cape/cape to Valero for 280,000 tonnes.
In West Africa, the firmer suezmax market has helped owners to consolidate recent gains. Unipec paid around WS 49 to China with Petroineos said to have paid WS 50 for the Bukha, all basis 260,000 tonnes cargo. In the Mediterranean, Bahri paid WS 45 for 280,000 tonnes from Sidi Kerir to Rotterdam. Lord Energy took Daba from Malta to Singapore-South Korea at $3.1 and $3.775 million respectively. In the North Sea, ST reportedly fixed at $4.15 million from Hound Point to South Korea, up $550,000 from last week. Similarly in the Caribbean, rates have continued to firm with $3.85 million paid to Singapore, whereas the market was closer to $3.55/3.6 million at the end of last week.
West Africa initially continued to strengthen with a high of WS 110 reported on a replacement cargo. However a number of oil company relets are showing up here now, and rates are now assessed in the high WS 90s. Healthy levels of enquiry elsewhere, with Caribbs particularly active, helped the West Africa market, taking out potential ballasters there. In the Black Sea rates peaked at WS 110 for 140,000 tonnes, but with more tonnage showing for third decade, brokers expect rates to soften here with the market now assessed at around WS 107 basis 135,000 tonnes cargo. In the Mediterranean, PES fixed 130,000 tonnes from Algeria to USAC at WS 80 while BPCL were said to have paid $2.7 million from Algeria to Kochi albeit for very early October loading.
In the Mediterranean, a slower week saw tonnage starting to build up and rates here have eased around 15 points to settle in the low WS 90s. By contrast, the Baltic has seen rates surge around 27.5 points with the market peaking at WS 95 before easing back to WS 90 basis 100,000 tonnes with a five point premium payable for cargoes requiring the additional flexibility of Baltic discharge options. The 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea market has benefited from the stronger Baltic market and last seen here was at WS 115 for Sullom Voe loading, up almost 20 points from the start of the week.
The 70,000 tonnes Caribbean up coast market has weakened significantly with plenty of tonnage available leading to the market dropping from low WS 90s to WS 75. However with the firmer markets in the North Sea and Baltic, this may yet potentially thin the tonnage list with tonnage tempted to ballast over.
On the Continent, a lack of enquiry has put rates under further downward pressure with the market for 55,000 tonnes from ARA to the US Gulf at barely WS 80 level.
In the Middle East Gulf, it has been another disappointing week for owners with rates for 75,000 tonnes to Japan slipping a further 12.5 points to sit now at around WS 55. It has been a similar story in the 55,000 tonnes AG/Japan trade with rates here also softening, down a further five points to WS 75.
In the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade, rates have remained under downward pressure with a lack of enquiry leading to rates easing five points to settle now at WS 75. Likewise in the 38,000 tonnes backhaul trade from the US Gulf where rates have been dropping steadily with the market now assessed at barely representing a 15 point loss from the start of the week.
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