Although the market in the ME Gulf to China had been steady in high WS 40s, there are now reports of WS 48, and subsequently, WS 47 being agreed. With this, brokers feel there is potential for further weakening. Korea discharge went at WS 45 all basis 270,000mt cargo. Voyages to US Gulf are assessed at between WS 18/19 Cape/Cape for 280,000mt, although Exxon managed to fix AMCL tonnage at WS 15 Suez/Suez. West Africa/China was fixed at both WS 47 and WS 48.75 and Total fixed at WS 48.5 to WC India basis 260,000mt. In the US Gulf, trips to South Korea were covered at $4.8 million, while Occidental paid $3.6 million for WC India discharge.
Rates in the 135,000mt trade from Black Sea/Med eased five points to WS 85. And a run to Ningbo was fixed at $2.6 million. Chevron reportedly fixed 135,000mt from Caspian Pipeline Corporation to US Gulf at WS 57.5. In the Mediterranean, Ampol paid $3.1m for Arzew to Brisbane, while Unipec agreed $2.65 million for Libya/China although it remains to be seen if this deal goes through in light of ongoing fighting. Closer to home, UML took ‘Meltemi’ for 135,000mt from Ceyhan to UKC-Med at around WS 80. In West Africa earlier in the week, Angola cargoes which are attractive to ballasters from the East were being fixed to Europe at WS 60/62.5 level, but subsequently, sustained activity has seen rates improve, with the market now hovering at around WS 67.5 for 130,000mt to UKContinent with potential to firm.
The start of the week saw a significant turnaround in the Mediterranean with rates jumping over 20 points to WS 120 level, with Black Sea at similar levels. However, it appears the market has peaked, and UML subsequently fixed ‘Neverland’ at WS 115 for 80,000mt from Ceyhan, and there is now talk of WS 105 having been concluded from Black Sea. A very active week in the North saw rates climb 27.5 points to WS 102.5 for 100,000mt from the Baltic and the 80,000mt cross North Sea market, which is tight on tonnage with some ships tied up in short-term storage, gained 15 points to sit now at WS 115.
The 70,000mt Caribbean and EC Mexico upcoast eased five points to WS 137.5/140 level.
Rates for 55,000mt from ARA or Skikda to US Gulf were unchanged at WS 105.
In the 75,000mt from ME Gulf to Japan trade, rates eased a further 12.5 points to sit now at between WS 97.5/100. The LR1 market came under modest downward pressure easing 2.5 points to WS 112.5 for 55,000mt to Japan.
A less active week, combined with good tonnage availability, saw rates in the 37,000mt Cont/USAC trade ease five points to WS 110, while the 38,000mt backhaul market still languishes at WS 67.5.
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