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VLCCs: Market Firms Up Slightly Over the Past Week


Rates have firmed slightly in the Atlantic and remain unmoved in the Middle East.

For the 280,000mt Middle East to US Gulf trip (routing via the Cape/Cape), rates again continue to be assessed at the WS18-18.5 level. And for voyages of 270,000mt to China, rates remain in the region of about WS28.5 (showing a TCE of minus $5.5k/day). In the Atlantic, rates for 260,000mt West Africa to China saw an improvement of 0.7 points to WS31 (a TCE of about $110/day round-trip) and 270,000mt from US Gulf to China saw rates climb $250k to just shy of $4.4m, showing a TCE of about $6k/day on a round trip basis.


In the 135,000mt Black Sea/Med market, rates have risen 2.5 points to WS77.5-78 ($8,700/day TCE) with owners here benefitting from a tightening Mediterranean Aframax market, enabling Suezmaxes to cover some Aframax cargoes. The 130,000mt Nigeria/UK Continent market saw a similar gain to WS67 (about $8.8k/day TCE). However, Glencore have been reported this morning to have covered at WS65 if their cargo is Europe-bound. The market for 140,000mt Basrah/Med increased by about 1.5 points to WS20.


In the Mediterranean, charterers remain under pressure from owners where the market for 80,000mt Ceyhan/Lavera has climbed a further 19 points to mid WS130s (basis a round voyage, about $23.2k/day TCE). In Northern Europe, 80,000mt Cross-North Sea rates pushed on a further four points to WS120 (a TCE of about $16.3k/day), although it is reported this morning that Trafigura have covered a Tees/UKCont voyage at WS115. Rates for 100,000mt Baltic/UK Continent have improved another 12 points to WS125 ($32.5k/day TCE).

On the other side of the Atlantic, the recent pressure that owners have been able to apply has been relieved and rates for 70,000mt Caribbean/US Gulf have fallen 17 points to low WS150s (a TCE of about 22k/day) while in the 70,000mt US Gulf/UK Continent market rates shed 11 points to WS110.


It has been a more positive week for Owners of LR tonnage where the 75,000mt Middle East Gulf/Japan trade saw rates nudge up from WS91.25 at the start of the week to sit now at WS95. It was a similar story on the LR1s, with rates for 55,000mt to Japan increasing – albeit by a larger margin of 10 points to around WS 121.75. However, the market here is date sensitive and a 1 April load cargo was reported covered at WS 115. That said, the tonnage list here is looking tight with much of it controlled by just a few owners and brokers feel that if volumes of enquiry are maintained there is potential for further firming. The 35,000mt AG/East Africa trade has continued to firm, gaining almost six points to just shy of WS192.5. For owners plying the 37,000mt Cont/USAC trade there has been a lot of volatility, with the market starting the week at around WS 170. Owners felt more confident and were even offering at WS 200 region. However, a number of ships failed and other cargoes went on handysize tonnage and the optimism faded. A cargo from Sines went on subjects at WS170 but failed and was then refixed at WS150, which is where the market now appears to have settled. In the 38,000mt backhaul trade from US Gulf to UKContinent there was negligible movement with rates holding in the low WS70s. It was a similar story for runs to Brazil where the market was maintained at close to WS112.5. The market for Continent to West Africa mirrored the weakening trend in the Cont/USAC market, and rates here eased 20 plus points to WS160 level. There was little excitement in the 30,000mt cross-Mediterranean trade with the market here ticking over at WS120.
Source: The Baltic Briefing

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