Although activity in the Middle East Gulf was less than expected, the market for 270,000 tonnes going both long and short east has been steady in the mid WS 60s down around 3 / 4 points from a week ago while rates for 280,000 tonnes going west have held at around WS 38.5/39 level basis cape/cape routing.
In West Africa, rates for 260,000 tonnes to China have similarly been steady at between WS 65 and WS 67.5 respectively. The Caribbean rates to Singapore have maintained at around $4.5 million, while WC India discharge has been fixed at around $3.8/3.9m level. In the North Sea, ship to ship Skaw/China was fixed at $5.35 million while fuel oil from Rotterdam to Singapore was covered at $4.15 million. In the Mediterranean, Socar are said to have paid $5.4 million for a Ceyhan to Taiwan run.
West Africa rates started the week under pressure with a trip to the US Gulf reportedly being fixed at WS 50. Thereafter a combination of increased activity in the Caribbean-US Gulf and North Sea led to a significant thinning of the tonnage list and a flurry of end November cargoes in West Africa pushed rates back up to WS 70 basis 130,000 tonnes for Europe discharge, and brokers feel there is potential for further firming with a number of outstanding cargoes in the market.
The beginning of the week saw rates for 135,000 tonnes from Black Sea to Mediterranean come under downward pressure with rates initially dipping down from high WS 60s to around WS 65/66 level. Thereafter the significantly firmer West Africa market together with a much improved Med Afra market, saw a somewhat more bullish mood from owners and rates rose quickly to around WS 77.5. There were also improved levels of enquiry from Libya and Bahri split a VLCC cargo and took two suezmaxes from Sidi Kerir to Rotterdam at WS 55 basis 140,000 tonnes cargo.
It has been a dramatic week in the Mediterranean with rates doubling from the start of the week. Renewed enquiry from Libya also led to a clear out of early tonnage. Stronger markets in the north had enticed some owners to ballast there also and the market now sits between WS 135/140 level in contrast to the high WS 60s at the start of the week.
In the Baltic a very tight tonnage list combined with a surge in levels of enquiry saw rates climb significantly from WS 60 at the start of the week to sit now at WS 100 level basis 100,000 tonnes cargo. In the 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea trade, rates have followed suit, up from WS 87.5 at the start of the week to around WS 125 level now.
The 70,000 tonnes Caribbean up coast market fell around WS 17.5/20 points as a lack of enquiry combined with improved tonnage availability enabled charterers to drag rates down to around WS 125/127.5 level.
On the Continent, it has been a more encouraging week for owners as steady levels of enquiry combined with limited tonnage availability have enabled owners to push rates up around 10 points to WS 92.5 for 55,000 tonnes from ARA to the US Gulf.
In the Middle East Gulf, limited activity in the 75,000 tonnes trade to Japan left charterers with plenty of choice and rates here have dropped around seven points down to WS 62.5 level. In the 55,000 tonnes AG/Japan trade rates eased around WS 2.5 points before settling in the mid WS 70s as there has been just enough enquiry for owners to be able to maintain the market at this level.
In the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade an air of normality has descended with the market now back at around WS 100 level after the Colonial pipeline incident would appear to have been less serious than at first thought. Similarly in the 38,000 tonnes back haul market, rates are down 30 points from a week ago, now looking settled at WS 75.
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