The market in the Middle East Gulf has remained under pressure since the start of the year. Rates for 270,000 tonnes going to China are hovering around WS 43 while going west, options cargoes which tend to pay a premium have been fixed at WS 22.5 region cape/cape basis 280,000 size. Chevron subsequently fixed a straight US Gulf discharge at WS 20 level. West Africa to China has moved in tandem here with the market sitting at around WS 44 basis 260,000 tonnes cargo. Hyundai fixed an EC Mexico/Singapore-South Korea trip at $3.4-4.4 million respectively, while Reliance paid $3 million also for Caribs to WC India.
West Africa has seen tonnage building and rates have accordingly weakened with the market for 130,000 tonnes to Europe at around WS 60/61 level. In the Black Sea, Transway are said to have paid WS 70 to UKC-Med on 140,000 tonnes cargo. Going east from the Med, Unipec paid $2.4 million for Sidi Kerir/Ningbo while Valero took Gladiator for 130,000 tonnes from Algeria/USG-UKC at WS 57.5-70 respectively.
The market for 80,000 tonnes cross Med has been active with rates now nudging WS 90 region with Black Sea paying close to WS 95. Rates for 100,000 tonnes from Baltic to UKC have been steady at WS 67.5 while cross North Sea rates for 80,000 tonnes held at around WS 100.
A slow week in the 70,000 tonnes Caribbean/up coast trade with healthy tonnage availability saw rates slide to WS 105.
The Caribs up coast market has weakened considerably to WS 140 level, leading tonnage to look at ballasting across and rates for 55,000 tonnes from ARA or Skida have come under downward pressure to settle at around WS 102.5.
A slow start to the year has seen the market weakening with 75,000 tonnes from Middle East Gulf/Japan paying around 82.5, while LR1s in the 55,000 tonnes Middle East Gulf/Japan trade have lost almost four points to sit now at around WS 96.25 region.
An active week in the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade saw rates gain five points to WS 155 but sheer volume of tonnage is preventing owners from making more headway. The 38,000 tonnes backhaul trade from US Gulf/UKCont saw an active week with rates up 10 points to WS 130, though this is understood to have been for Caribs load.
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