It has been a more encouraging week for owners in the Middle East Gulf. Healthy amounts of enquiry combined with a subsequent more bullish sentiment saw rates for 270,000 tonnes going east firming with short east initially being fixed at WS 52.5 for Thailand before an ex drydock vessel achieved WS 55 while China has now been fixed at WS 56.5 representing gains of around 10/11 WS points and brokers feel there is potential for further increases. Rates for 280,000 tonnes going west are now nudging WS 30 level basis cape/cape in contrast to the WS 25/26 of a week ago.
In West Africa, rates for 260,000 tonnes to China have moved in tandem with the Middle East Gulf with the market here almost ten points higher at around WS 65 level while IOC fixed 260,000 tonnes to EC India at the equivalent of WS 62. There has been plenty of enquiry in the US Gulf/Caribbean area which led to tonnage fixing locally there rather than ballasting to West Africa, so these fixtures have been concluded on ballasters from the Far East which has consequently helped thin the list of available tonnage in the Middle East Gulf.
US Gulf/Caribs to Singapore was fixed at $3.75/3.8 million respectively, while a Caribs/Sikka run has been fixed at around $3.3m. An EC Mexico to South Korea voyage was covered at $4.8 million. In the North Sea, BP fixed Hound Point to South Korea at $4.3 million while Skaw to China is said to have been covered at around $4.275 million.
West Africa rates for 130,000 tonnes have been under downward pressure throughout the week. An active vlcc market combined with only limited enquiry for suezmaxes saw rates easing from around WS 87.5 to barely WS 80 for Europe discharge and a USAC trip is said to have gone at WS 75. Healthy tonnage availability saw Black Sea rates quickly drop from mid WS 90s of a week ago to between WS 85/87.5 region basis 135,000 tonnes. A short voyage from Sidi Kerir to Greece was fixed at WS 85 basis 135,000 tonnes, while a long run from Ceyhan to Balikpapan has been fixed at $2.4 million.
It has been a disappointing week for owners in the Mediterranean. Plentiful supply of tonnage has seen rates heading in only one direction. The WS 120 of a week ago seems like a distant memory as a Sidi Kerir/Portugal voyage drew plenty of offers with the charterer eventually able to fix at WS 95. Ceyhan rates for 80,000 tonnes are now assessed in the very low WS 100s basis Med discharge.
In the Baltic, the market for 100,000 tonnes came under pressure, with rates easing from low WS 90s a week ago down to WS 85. However improved amounts of enquiry subsequently saw rates creep up to WS 87.5 region with WS 90 being agreed by charterers also needing short options on the discharge. In the 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea trade, rates have largely held between WS 102.5/105 level.
It has been another uneventful week in the 70,000 tonnes Caribs/upcoast trade with rates hovering around WS 90/92.5 level.
Limited activity for the panamaxes from both Continent and Med this week has seen rates ease marginally to settle at between WS 112.5/115 as a weak Caribs upcoast market led to a number of ballasters heading across.
In the Middle East Gulf, rates for 75,000 tonnes to Japan came under downward pressure and the market now sits at around WS 105 in contrast to the WS 112.5 of a week ago. It is a similar story for the LR1s with rates for 55,000 tonnes to Japan dropping away to WS 112.5 level, representing a loss of around 17.5 points over the week.
It has been a slower week for owners in the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade and rates here have continued to soften with the market now at WS 192.5 in contrast to the very low WS 200s of a week ago. In the 38,000 tonnes backhaul market, it has been another volatile week with rates initially easing from WS 127.5 a week ago to around WS 120 before staging a recovery as the list tightened up and the market now sits at almost WS 135.
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