Delays in both China and India have continued to create uncertainty on itineraries leading to a tight tonnage list and those owners with a reliable position have capitalized accordingly. Rates for 270,000 tonnes going long east have added around 9.5 points this week with WS 88.5 reported paid to China with talk of owners now looking for WS 90 plus. Going west rates for 280,000 tonnes to the US Gulf are now assessed at around WS 52.5 in contrast to the WS 44 level of a week ago.
In West Africa, the firm market in the Middle East Gulf has again been reflected here with rates for 260,000 tonnes to China firming five points to WS 82.5 which was agreed by both Petroineos and CNOOC. A shorter run to UK-Cont was reported fixed by Total on Olympic tonnage at WS 50. In the North Sea Unipec are said to have paid $5.75m for Hound Point to Ningbo while in the Caribbean, Glasford paid $4.7m for Singapore discharge. Voyages from Caribs to WC India were fixed at $3.95/4.0m levels.
It has been a week of solid gains in West Africa with rates to Europe reaching a high of WS 120 to Spain, up around 22.5 points from a week ago but this was for 28 December loading and a similar voyage to Portugal went at WS 117.5 for 4 January load. There has been plenty of activity in other load areas with long voyages from both Med and North Sea/Baltic to the East being fixed, helping to thin the tonnage list.
Limited tonnage availability in the Black Sea and Mediterranean has seen rates add 15 points since the start of the week with Chevron taking Aegean Marathon off 9 January at WS 125 for 135,000 tonnes from CPC terminal, in contrast to the WS 115 paid earlier in the week by them. Petroineos took SCF tonnage for 22 December load at WS 125 for a short Algeria/Fos run basis 130,000 tonnes cargo.
In the Mediterranean and Black Sea markets rates have stabilized in the WS 120/125 region for 80,000 tonnes. Turkish straits delays have shortened and with the tonnage list looking well supplied, brokers feel there remains potential downward pressure in the market here.
The start of the week saw a significant ‘readjustment’ with the Baltic market losing 15 points in a day. A number of ships with short discharge options came open enabling charterers to cover at WS 105 and the market has weakened further with Total taking Neste tonnage at WS 97.5 basis 100,000 tonnes cargo. The softening in the Baltic had the inevitable ‘knock-on’ effect in the 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea market where rates have fallen from WS 130 a week ago to around WS 97.5/100 level.
A combination of an active market with weather delays and a tighter tonnage list in the 70,000 tonnes Caribs/upcoast trade have enabled owners to push the market up around 10/11 points with rates hovering now between WS 105/107.5 region.
It has been another uneventful week with rates in both Mediterranean and UK-Cont steady at WS 112.5/115 level for 55,000 tonnes to US Gulf.
It has been an encouraging week in the Middle East Gulf, where rates have gained around 10 points on the back of improved amounts of enquiry, and now sit at WS 80 for 75,000 tonnes to Japan, while in the 55,000 tonnes AG/Japan trade the market has similarly benefitted with rates now up 10 points here at around WS84.5/85 level.
In the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade, the market has continued to firm with WS 110 being done on Scorpio tonnage and subsequently WS 145 was paid for breach of IWL putting the conventional transatlantic market in the low/mid WS 120s now, up around 20 points from the start of the week.
In the US Gulf, healthy amounts of enquiry have seen rates in the 38,000 tonnes back haul market firm around five WS points to settle now in the mid WS 90S.
For daily tanker market assessments from the Baltic Exchange please visit www.balticexchange.com/market-information/