Pressure has been building in the Middle East Gulf with rates for 270,000 tonnes softening to barely WS 80 level. Although there has been plenty of fixing, a lot of it has been tonnage being covered under COA and with Chinese New Year holidays looming, charterers are in the stronger position, especially with a number of new buildings appearing on the tonnage list leading to big discounts for those willing to fix such tonnage. The ‘knock-on’ effect is similarly being felt in the market for 280,000 tonnes to the US Gulf where rates have dropped 7.5 WS points to sit now at around WS 42.5 cape/cape.
It is a similar story with rates for 260,000 tonnes in the West Africa/China trade easing around WS 5.5 points to WS 77 level while Indian charterers covered on 2001 built tonnage at the equivalent of WS 76 for EC India discharge. In the Caribbean, rates to Singapore have settled at $5.0m while on the Continent Hound Point/China was fixed and failed at $5.3 million.
It has been a slow week in West Africa, with rates for 130,000 tonnes initially holding around WS 87.5, but with a growing tonnage list the market has a softer sentiment with levels now assessed in the low to mid WS 80s. It is a similar tale in the Black Sea with rates at the start of the week in the high WS 90s but the market now for 135,000 tonnes cargo is now down to barely WS 95 despite Turkish straits delays of between 14/17 days total for north and southbound transits. A long voyage from Sidi Kerir to Spain went at WS 85 basis 140,000 tonnes, while Unipec are said to have taken ‘Aegean’ tonnage for 130,000 tonnes at WS 110 for Libya/Med with a China option but no rate was disclosed here.
In the Mediterranean and Black Sea it has been another disappointing week for owners. A lack of enquiry combined with the subsequent build-up of tonnage has seen the market losing a further 30 WS points to sit now in the very low WS 120s and remains under downward pressure.
In the Baltic, it has been a better week for owners with, rates for 100,000 tonnes to UK-Cont adding 15 points to sit now at close to WS 110 level. Likewise in the North Sea, healthy amounts of enquiry have seen rates now firm to close to WS 115 in contrast to the WS 97.5 of a week ago.
In the 70,000 tonnes Caribs/upcoast trade, it has been a steady week for owners with rates easing only modestly to sit now in the low WS 160s after peaking at WS 165 although fog and weather delays in the US Gulf have eased, opening out the tonnage list, but healthy levels of enquiry on both suezmax and panamaxes have leant support to the market here.
On the Continent, it has been an uneventful week with rates for 55,000 tonnes from ARA to the US Gulf easing around 2.5 points to sit now at WS 157.5, with Algeria to the US Gulf paying low to mid WS 150s.
It has been another grim week for owners with plenty of tonnage for charterers to choose. Rates here for 75,000 tonnes to Japan eased a further 15 points to around WS 80 region, while in the 55,000 tonnes AG/Japan trade rates have eased only modestly to sit now at around WS 110/112 level.
In the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade, it has been a better week for owners with decent levels of enquiry, including down to West Africa, and rates have added almost 10 points to settle in the very low WS 160s while in the 38,000 tonnes US Gulf/Continent trade a healthy supply of tonnage has seen rates ease six/seven points down to WS 95.
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