In the Middle East Gulf, rates for 270,000 tonnes going long east have been hovering in the low WS 50s, although there has been a deal recently concluded by Chinese charterers at WS 55 but this is a run to Kiire with somewhat extended laytime having been agreed. Earlier in the week, a voyage to Thailand went at WS 52 again basis 270,000 tonnes quantity, while a 2000 built ship fixed another run to Thailand at WS 49.5. Going west, Exxon are reported to have fixed 280,000 tonnes to US Gulf at WS 21 Suez/Suez with option cape/cape at WS 23 although this was on a ship ex drydock.
At least in West Africa, owners have just about been able to maintain the market at WS 53 for 260,000 tonnes to China. Indian charterers have also been active, with a run to WC India was fixed at the equivalent of 260,000 tonnes at just below 49.75 and an EC India run went at the equivalent of around WS 47.5. In the Caribbean, Singapore discharge was fixed at $3.7 million and WS India went at $3.1 million, although brokers feel these rates will come under renewed downward pressure. On the Continent, BP fixed fuel oil from Rotterdam to Singapore at $2.9 million while a run from Ceyhan to Taiwan was fixed by Socar on the 2001-built Kos at $3.9 million.
In contrast to the VLCCs, suezmax rates fared better this week. In West Africa, rates for 130,000 tonnes have continued to firm throughout the week, with the market now at around WS 95, representing a gain of around 20 points from the start of the week. This has come about because of healthy levels of demand combined with a firm aframax market in the Mediterranean, leading to a number of suezmaxes fixing 80,000 tonnes part cargoes. There have also been a number of ships coming open in the east that were fixed locally rather than committing to the ballast to West Africa.
In the Black Sea, rates have benefitted from a stronger West Africa market and also Med afra market. As such, the market for 135,000 tonnes is now at between WS 87.5 and WS 90 in contrast to the mid WS 80s of a week ago. There has also been renewed interest for voyages going east with WC India being fixed at around $1.9 million with South Korea going at between $2.75/2.9 million. In the Mediterranean, rates for cross Med are between WS 85/90 depending on the voyage. Irving fixed a replacement cargo from Ceyhan to EC Canada at WS 78.75 basis 135,000 tonnes cargo.
In the Mediterranean, it has been a volatile week. The start of the week saw rates continuing to firm with to mid WS 140s in the Med and WS 150 done from Black Sea, albeit on a replacement cargo. Healthy amounts of enquiry also from Libya, combined with delays in Trieste led to this spike but rates were capped by suezmaxes competing for part cargoes here. However, subsequently BP had several offers for a Black Sea cargo and were able to cover at WS 120 and with a number of early ships now around, combined with an upcoming long weekend, it seems the market might come under further downward pressure.
A steady flow of cargoes in the Baltic saw rates for 100,000 tonnes cargoes move initially from WS 72.5 to WS 80 before a large jump to the very low WS 100s where rates presently sit . Unsurprisingly, the 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea market felt the benefits of the stronger Baltic market, with rates here adding around 17.5 points to WS 120.
The 70,000 tonnes Caribs/upcoast market has been steady at WS 140 with charterers looking to cover prior to their long weekend, and with owners successfully resisting charterers’ efforts to lower rates, status quo has been maintained here.
It has been an uneventful week in the 55,000 tonnes, ARA to US Gulf trade, with rates largely unchanged at WS 115 with Skikda rates at similar levels.
It has been a lacklustre week in the Middle East Gulf with the market for 75,000 tonnes to Japan losing around WS 5 points to settle at WS 85. It has been a similar story in the 55,000 tonnes AG/Japan trade where rates have stagnated at around WS 97.5 region.
Improved levels of enquiry, combined with a tighter tonnage list saw rates in the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC market firm around 11 points to settle now in the very low WS 140s. While in the 38000 tonnes back haul trade, an uneventful week has left rates marginally softer at WS 87.5/88 region in contrast to WS 90 region at the start of the week.
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