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Tankers: VLCC Market Firms up on Suez Blockade


Rates have firmed in all sectors. In the Middle East the market for 280,000mt Middle East to US Gulf trip (routing via the Cape/Cape) is assessed almost a point higher at WS19, while rates for 270,000mt to China have improved 4.5 points to about WS33-33.5 level, which shows a TCE basis round trip of around $$1,300/day. In the Atlantic, rates for 260,000mt West Africa to China saw a similar 4.5 point improvement to WS37.5-38 level (a TCE of about $7.2k/day round trip) and 270,000mt from US Gulf to China saw rates climb over $350k to $4.78m ($11,800/day TCE round trip).


The well-publicised Suez blockage incident has helped bolster an improving sentiment in this asset class. In the 135,000mt Black Sea/Med market rates have risen 11 points to the WS90 level (approx. $18,500/day TCE) with Owners continuing to benefit from a tight Mediterranean Aframax market, where the main focus is a firm vessel itinerary. In the 130,000mt Nigeria/UK Continent market, rates gained 7.5 points to WS77-78 level (~$15.5k/day TCE), while Petroineos are reported to have taken a ship on subjects at WS80 albeit for an early April loading. The market for 140,000mt Basrah/Med increased by about six points to WS27.5.


In the Mediterranean, Owners of vessels with clear itineraries are in control and are driving the market upwards, seeking better than the last done on each fresh cargo. Rates for 80,000mt Ceyhan/Lavera have risen 18 points to WS145 level (a TCE of $28,500/day basis a round voyage). It has been a different story in Northern Europe, with 80,000mt Cross-North Sea rates falling back nine points to WS110 level (approx. $12,200/day TCE) and the market appears to have settled here for now as the sentiment in the Mediterranean is starting to have a knock-on effect. Meanwhile, rates for 100,000mt Baltic/UK Continent fell harder, seeing a drop of 27.5 points to about WS100. On the other side of the Atlantic, Charterers appear to have regained control and have managed to push rates back down. In the 70,000mt Caribbean/US Gulf market, rates have collapsed 35 points to WS95 (a TCE of about $5,000/day) while for 70,000mt US Gulf/UK Continent rates are now at the WS75 mark, having tumbled by just shy of 30 points.


It has been another encouraging week for LR Owners where rates for 75,000mt Middle-East Gulf/Japan climbed just over 40 points to WS 137.5 and brokers feel there is potential for further increases. The LR1 market also improved but by a somewhat more modest 7.5 points and now sits at WS130. Whilst it was a slower week the tonnage list is much better balanced now. For MR’s in AG/East Africa trade rates came under downward pressure ending at around WS170 region having started the week in the high WS180s. Whilst for Cont/USAC, it has been a disappointing week with the market easing 15 points to WS155 and there is even talk of WS152.5 now being agreed on subjects. Unsurprisingly, the MR market into West Africa followed suit and rates weakened from just shy of WS180 to sit now in the low/mid WS160s. In the 38,000mt backhaul trade from US Gulf to UK-Continent, it was rather a dull week with the market shedding 2.5 points to WS67.5 while the US Gulf /Brazil trade was flat at WS110. Owners have seen a healthy improvement in the 30,000mt cross-Mediterranean trade with plenty of activity and the market has gained almost 70 points to mid WS190s aided also by plenty of Black Sea enquiry, and for March loading in the Mediterranean the feeling is rates could nudge WS200 region.
Source: The Baltic Briefing

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