There is a feeling that the market might have peaked this week. In the Middle East Gulf, whilst rates for 270,000 tonnes going east have moved up about 2.5 points to WS 67.5, brokers feel it may struggle to maintain such a level. Going west rates for 280,000 tonnes to the US Gulf rose around 3.5 points to WS 41/41.5 level, whilst a run to EC Canada is said to have been fixed at WS 43 but rates are now assessed at about WS 40 cape/cape to the US Gulf.
In West Africa, for 260,000 tonnes to China, rates have been steady throughout the week at WS 67.5. On the Continent, fuel oil from Rotterdam to Singapore was covered at $ 4.05 million whereas last week $3.4 million was paid. A Hound Point to South Korea cargo reportedly went at $5.375 million in contrast to $4.6 million last week. In the Mediterranean, Socar paid $5.1 million from Ceyhan to Taiwan.
West Africa has been under pressure this week with rates dipping down from WS 72.5 at the start of the week to WS 66.25 albeit for an attractive voyage to Trieste. Subsequently rates have marginally recovered with trips to Europe being fixed at around WS 70 while a run to USAC went at WS 67.5. By contrast it has been a better week for owners trading in the Black Sea with plenty of enquiry. Rates recovered initially to WS 85 basis 140,000 and thereafter Unipec are understood to have paid WS 90 again on 140,000 tonnes, representing a 10 point gain from a week ago. Black Sea to Korea has been fixed at $3.25 million. A combination of delays in Trieste and longer voyages from Med to the East have trimmed the available tonnage list. Fuel oil from Malta to Singapore went at around $2.1 million while a longer Libya/Ningbo run is said to have been fixed at $3.0 million.
In the Mediterranean, the week started off with rates anywhere between WS 60/65 level depending on the voyage. Subsequently due to a number of enquiries from Libya rates have firmed to WS 67.5/70 level for both Med and Black Sea load. The Baltic saw improved levels of enquiry and rates here have gained around 2.5 WS points to sit at WS 75 basis 100,000 tonnes while the 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea market has similarly benefitted with rates here now up at WS 97.50/100 region.
The 70,000 tonnes Caribbean up coast market has come back down to earth as improved amounts of tonnage with reliable itineraries gave charterers the upper hand, meaning levels fell 10 points back down to WS 100 level and remain under downward pressure.
On the Continent the status quo has been maintained with rates steady at around WS80/82.5 level for 55,000 tonnes from ARA to the US Gulf, while from the Mediterranean rates have improved marginally to WS 77.50/80 representing a gain of around 2.50/5 points. However with the 50,000 tonnes Caribbs up coast market firming by around 25 points, brokers feel that this may well entice more tonnage to stay local rather than commit to ballasting across to NW Europe, thus reducing the supply of tonnage and leading to a potential improvement in the market here.
In the Middle East Gulf, it has been a somewhat better week for owners with the market for 75,000 tonnes to Japan gaining 15 points to WS 70, while in the 55,000 tonnes AG/Japan trade rates continued to improve with levels now at WS 85 up 10 points from a week ago.
In the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade, improved levels of enquiry, combined with a tighter tonnage list has pushed the market up 10 points to WS 80. However, in the 38,000 tonnes backhaul trade from US Gulf, rates have been stagnant with the market in the very low WS 50s still giving a negative time charter return here.
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