Owners were encouraged by a significant uptick in demand in the Middle East Gulf, but were also hampered by the large overhang of tonnage. This led to only a modest one to two-point gain in the market for 270,000 tonnes going long east. Japan was fixed at WS 53.5, likewise Thailand, and China discharge recently went twice at WS51.5, albeit on 2001 and 2002 built tonnage. Going west, rates have also improved marginally with the market now assessed at around WS 27 cape/cape for 280,000 tonnes, representing a one point gain over the week.
Rates in West Africa have been steady at around WS 56 for 260,000 tonnes to China. In the Caribbean, it has also been a more encouraging week for owners with Caribbean to Singapore fixed at $3.1, 3.3 and finally $3.6 million respectively, while an EC Mexico to South Korea run went at $4.45 million region. In the North Sea, BP are understood to have paid $4.1 million for Hound Point to South Korea.
Owners have had their backs to the wall in West Africa with plenty of tonnage for charterers to choose from and the market here has dropped from low WS 60s at the end of last week to around WS 55 for Europe discharge and WS 50 was paid for a run to the US Gulf.
The market for 135,000 tonnes in the Black Sea has come under renewed downward pressure and is now assessed at barely WS 70 in contrast to the WS 72.5 level of a week ago. Longer haul runs to WC India were covered at $1.575 million while South Korea-Japan went in the region of $2.5/2.55 million. There has been plenty of fixing for longer voyages from the Mediterranean with Algeria and also Ceyhan to WC India paying $1.525 and $1.475 million respectively. Unipec paid $2.2 million for Sidi Kerir to Ningbo. Closer to home, Repsol paid WS 57.5 for 135,000 tonnes from Sidi Kerir to Spain.
An uninspiring week in the Mediterranean has seen rates flat with the market just drifting down marginally to very low WS 90s for 80,000 tonnes. The Baltic saw more action but with a healthy supply of tonnage rates for 100,000 tonnes eased from WS 75 down to WS 72.5 and then to WS 70 where they currently sit. It is a similar story in the 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea trade with the market weakening around 2.5 points to WS 97.5.
It has again been tough going for owners plying the 70,000 tonnes Caribs up coast market with a number of early ships around still, the market here has drifted further down to WS 85 level, representing a WS 5 points loss from the start of the week.
An uneventful week saw the status quo maintained with rates for 55,000 tonnes ARA to US Gulf have hovering around WS 115 with Skikda paying similar levels.
Rates in the Middle East Gulf for 75,000 tonnes to Japan have held at WS 85 while in the 55,000 tonnes AG/Japan trade, rates have similarly been maintained at around WS 105 level.
The steady 38,000 tonnes back haul market at WS 120 has been sufficient to tempt owners to ballast down to US Gulf rather than committing to ballasting back to ARA and this has benefitted those owners trading in the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade. Improved amounts of enquiry also from the continent to West Africa helped thin the tonnage list here and rates to West Africa have risen around 15 points to WS 155 with the standard USAC run gaining around 15 points to WS 137.5/140 level.
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