Rates have continued to firm throughout the week with 270,000 tonnes to Japan now reported fixed at WS 70, representing a gain of around six points from a week ago. Short east has also been fixed at around WS 70, while rates for 280,000 tonnes going west have nudged up around two points to WS 40 level basis cape/cape routing and both WS 41/42 has been agreed for cargoes requiring wide options.
In West Africa, rates for 260,000 tonnes to China have similarly between steady at between WS 65 and WS 67.5 respectively, while a run to EC India is said to have been fixed at the equivalent of around WS 67.2 and this on a 2000 built ship. There has been steady enquiry on the Continent with $4.15 million paid for fuel oil from Rotterdam to Singapore while $5.15 million was agreed from North Sea to Korea but this deal apparently failed on subjects.
West Africa rates for 130,000 tonnes to Europe now sit at around WS 87.5 up almost 10 points from the end of last week. Owners have had plenty of business to consider with long haul business from Mediterranean and Continent also helping to thin the tonnage list. Suezmaxes have benefitted from the markedly firmer aframax market leading to suezmaxes fixing aframax cargoes from Med and Black Sea depleting the list further. In the Black Sea rates for 135,000 tonnes to Mediterranean have climbed from very low WS 80s at the start of the week to WS 112.5. Suezmax tonnage fixed 80,000 tonnes reportedly at WS 185 from Black Sea and it is the buoyant aframax market, together with increased Turkish straits delays of around 4/6 days each way that have led to the much stronger market.
It has been a week of significant further gains in the Mediterranean with rates adding around 40 points from a week ago. Turkish straits delays, together with bad weather and also uncertain turn arounds in Mediterranean discharge ports combined with more Libya cargoes have been the catalyst for the improvement in the market. A short Algeria/Portugal run was fixed at WS 190 while East Med and Black Sea cargoes have been paying around WS 180 level with WS 185 agreed for a voyage from Libya to Spain.
In the north a tight tonnage list combined with plenty of enquiry has seen rates firm for 100,000 tonnes from Baltic from WS 100 level at the start of the week to around WS 107.5/110 region and this has also helped push the rates in the 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea trade up from WS 125 at the end of last week to WS 132.5. There are also around 16/17 aframaxes sitting laden in the North Sea with no discharge orders which is helping consolidate earlier gains.
The 70,000 tonnes Caribbean up coast market fell around 25 points early in the week before rebounding in spectacular fashion. Subsequent replacement business and general delays, together with a number of ships ballasting away to the more lucrative markets in the North Sea and Mediterranean saw rates recover previous lost ground and now sit at around WS 132.5 level.
In the Mediterranean, it has been an active week with trips from Skikda to the US Gulf being fixed at WS 100 and subsequently there is talk of WS 112.5 being concluded here. This has helped push up the market on the Continent where rates for 55,000 tonnes from ARA to the US Gulf have gained around 10 WS points to WS 102.5/105 level. Brokers also feel with the stronger aframax markets in both Europe and the Caribbean that there is scope for further potential gains here especially with the Caribs upcoast panamax market firmer at WS 120 for 50,000 tonnes leading to fewer ballasters from there to Europe.
In the Middle East Gulf, there is a sense of déjà vu with markets here. In the 75,000 tonnes trade to Japan rates held at WS 62.5 level, while In the 55,000 tonnes AG/Japan trade the market has settled at WS 75.
In the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade rates have been hovering all week between WS 105/110 level. In the 38,000 tonnes back haul market, an active start to the week saw rates firm five points to WS 80 before renewed levels of enquiry saw owners manage to push rates further up with the market now at around WS 90.
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