Tankers: Demand Still Slow, Expected to Worsen, Before it Gets Better
The market in the Middle East was unmoved this week, with Chinese refiners continuing to slow imports, allied with the impact of the Coronavirus and the return of the previously sanctioned Cosco tonnage. The list subsequently swelled, allowing the few active charterers to reign in owners’ expectations. Rates for 270,000mt to China bounced around the WS 40 level, while the 280,000mt market to US Gulf, via the Cape/Cape routing remained flat, at WS 30. In the western hemisphere, rates for 260,000mt West Africa to China were stuck in the mid WS 40s and in the 270,000mt, USG/China trade rates improved $150k to $6.6m, primarily on the back of another relatively active week.
Rates for 130,000mt West Africa/UK-Continent followed the VLCC example, remaining unmoved and in the high WS 80s for most of the week. However, at the time of writing, charterers appear to have convinced owners to fall through the WS 80 barrier, with WS 78.75 being reported on a trader’s relet to Petroineos. Rates for 135,000mt Black Sea/Mediterranean remained static, at low-to-mid WS 90s. Meanwhile, thanks to a well populated tonnage list, rates for the 140,000mt Basrah/Mediterranean route hovered around WS 40, even though a Basrah/Greece cargo reportedly covered at the equivalent of WS35.
A more positive attitude existed in this sector with rates improving on all routes. 80,000mt Ceyhan/Mediterranean is worth WS85, 16% more than a week ago. The Northern European voyages of 80,000mt Cross-North Sea gained 37 points to WS132.5 whilst 100,000mt Baltic/UKC rose 28 points to WS 115 level. Across the Atlantic, 70,000mt Carib/USG voyages are rated up another 25 points at low WS 180s and another very busy 70,000mt USG/ Mediterranean market saw rates climb a further 10 points to WS 170.
It was another uneventful week for owners with the market in the Middle East Gulf/Japan trade for 75,000mt steady in very low WS80s. In the 55,000mt size the market settled at around WS92.5. In the 37,000mt UKC to USAC trade, rates initially dipped down to WS150 and there was enquiry in to West Africa paying WS185 region, leaving the transatlantic market in the low/mid WS150s. Total are said to have a ship on subjects ex ARA at WS150, but this is with palm oil background. In the 38,000mt backhaul trade from US Gulf to UKC, rates stabilised and sit now at WS87.5/90 region. The 30,000mt clean cross-Med market saw rates dip down to mid WS170s before recovering to WS197.5 level and Black Sea pays WS210.
Source: The Baltic Briefing