It has been another slow week for owners in the Middle East Gulf, with a light first decade leading to renewed pressure on rates. For 270,000 tonnes going long east, rates have been hovering in the very low WS 70s all week. A run to Thailand was covered at WS 72 and with tonnage continuing to build, brokers feel owners will struggle to maintain rates starting with a ‘7’. It is a similar story going west, with the market for 280,000 tonnes cargo losing around 2 WS points as Irving took Olympic tonnage at WS 33 cape/cape to EC Canada, while Exxon paid WS 31 Suez/Suez basis US Gulf.
In West Africa, 260,000 tonnes to China initially held at WS 71.5 but with the lack of activity in the Middle East Gulf, sentiment has weakened and the market here is now assessed at barely WS 70. A run to WC India was fixed at equivalent of around WS 63, albeit on 1998 built tonnage, but is still endemic of the potential weakness in the market. In the Caribbean, rates have similarly eased with a run to WC India fixed at $3.5 million while Singapore discharge was covered at $4.4 million with South Korea discharge at $5.3 Million. The North Sea was quiet this week with rates for fuel oil from Rotterdam to Singapore assessed now at around $3.5 million.
In West Africa, the week started with fixing and subsequent failing at WS 85, and thereafter the market settled in the very low WS 80s with Repsol said to have managed to fix even at WS 79, although Total subsequently agreed WS 82.5.
In the Black Sea, it has been an uneventful week with WS 82.5 for 135,000 tonnes being repeated on numerous occasions while longer runs are said to have been fixed at $2.5 million to Singapore, and $2.95 million was agreed on Maran tonnage for South Korea discharge. Going west Irving took SCF tonnage for 135,000 tonnes from Ceyhan to EC Canada at WS 65.
It has been a much more encouraging week for owners in the Mediterranean. With a busy March programme from both Ceyhan and Black Sea, plenty of enquiry saw rates rise from WS 95 region to WS 118/120 level with Black Sea going in the mid WS 120s.
In the North, IP week led to only limited enquiry and rates have subsequently eased with 100,000 tonnes from Baltic down to WS 97.5 in contrast to the WS 110 level of a week ago. The 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea market has likewise followed suit with rates dropping almost 7.5 points and are now nudging close to WS 100.
For those owners plying the 70,000 tonnes Caribs/upcoast trade last week, the market has held up remarkably well with rates coming under pressure initially with WS 135 fixing and failing and thereafter rates have been back where they started in the WS 150 region, although with more tonnage with a reliable itinerary appearing brokers feel rates may come under downward pressure here.
The main focus of enquiry has been in the Mediterranean with rates for 55,000 tonnes to US Gulf around WS 120. UK-Continent has been largely untested, though the market here is now assessed also at close to WS 120 region.
It has been a slightly disappointing week for owners in the Middle East Gulf as rates for 75,000 tonnes to Japan eased back to close to WS 110 level in contrast to the WS 120 plus of a week ago. IP week led to a slowdown in the market and rates for 55,000 tonnes to Japan eased around 3 points to settle in the mid WS 120s.
There is very much a sense of déjà vu in the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade with the market seemingly settled at WS 130 with the arb closed here. In the 38,000 tonnes backhaul trade from US Gulf to the Continent plenty of enquiry led to a clear out of tonnage and rates have climbed from WS 80 at the start of the week to sit now at between WS 100/105 level.
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