NWE/MED: In the NWE market, activity continues to be at healthy levels this week with the number of enquiries
In the NWE market, activity continues to be at healthy levels this week with the number of enquiries and fixtures increasing quite a bit. Also this tighter shipping market is mainly a result of colder weather conditions starting to finally set in and this trend according to forecasts is expected to continue in the coming weeks keeping demand healthy. Furthermore as far as vessel availabilities are concerned the list of open vessels has shortened and far less re-lets are seen in the market. Also as reported there has been increased demand seen mainly from the South as well as increased owners demand looking to cover gaps in their programs. The delays seen in ports around the ARA continue to be an issue with ice problems mainly in the Baltic and Black Sea regions creating further delays to vessels schedules. According to reports there were various refinery shutdowns in the region that caused an extra need for tons thus further tightening the market. More specifically the propane coaster market this week despite the boost in activity has not fully bounced back but if the cold weather continues in the coming weeks we will most likely see a substantial increase in spot demand. On the other hand the butane coaster market maintains healthy activity with quite a few enquiries seen and fixtures concluded with the arbitrage window to the South still there. Also product availability especially of good quality tons is quite hard to source but lower quality is at hand. Furthermore blenders seem to have lost there interest this week.
Moving to the MED now, this week the spot market has also experienced a surge in activity with colder weather conditions boosting demand. Quite a few enquiries and fixtures have been concluded with the majority of fixtures reported ex NWE to Morocco and East Med. Also freight rates are seen quite firm due to the increased spot activity. There are many vessels seen coming open in the MED due to increased activity from NWE towards Morocco. In the propane coaster market in particular, there has been increased demand for spot cargoes boosted mainly by the colder weather conditions that have set in the area. As reported traders were looking for tons ex Lavera but to no avail up till now and the Italians are also in the market for spot cargoes. On the other hand the butane coaster market is also very firm with demand mainly coming from S France with most parcels traded on p+c terms. Furthermore demand ex North Africa and East Med remains strong with supply availabilities on the other hand staying rather insufficient.
In the Feast pressurized market activity was fairly healthy compared to the past couple of weeks where the situation was pretty quiet mainly due to the Chinese New Year celebrations, traders are now slowly returning to the market. Also there were more lpg spot enquiries ex. South China, Malaysia and Singapore. Furthermore there were reportedly more short tc and coa fixtures concluded with owners looking to cover availabilities along with quite a few spot fixtures. In China now, imports have yet to improve but are expected to shortly as the low stock levels in the region will need to be replenished. On the other hand exports seem to be at higher levels maintaining the lpg markets activity levels. According to reports the Maoming and Jinling Petrochemical facilities are programmed for maintenance operations in February and will be offline for a while.
In the Asian petchems market now, ppl activity has picked up this week with enquiries reported mainly ex. Pasir Gudang, Korea and Thailand for intra-SEA deliveries. Also there was some activity reported ex. Map Tha Phut with a few enquiries and at least one fixture. This week saw a number of vessels being fixed for coa biz and short tc for February up to April deliveries. Furthermore Chinese traders have still not fully returned to the market thus not giving us a clear picture of market sentiment but next week will be crucial. On to the other petchem markets, B1, CC4 and btd have been pretty quiet with btd showing more promise out of the three. Also the vcm market still showed no signs of recovery for yet another week.
Time Charter Fixtures
Gaschem Bergen (8,200 cbm) was fixed for 6 months T/C to acct Braskem with del Brazil / mid Feb – hnr.
Berge Ningbo (81,000 cbm) was extended for a short T/C in direct continuation to current account Petredec –hnr
BW Trader (78,000 cbm) was fixed for 20-30 days short T/C to acct SHV with del MEG/beg Feb – hnr
Mill Reef (82,000 cbm) was extended for 1 year T/C to current acct AP Moller taking affect Mar 2012 – hire reported at around usd 800k
Sale and Purchase/New Buildings
Source: StealthGas INC