Tankers: VLCC Market Under Pressure



Rates have slipped 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 a point lower at WS18, while rates for 270,000mt to China have eased 1.5 points to about WS31.5 which shows a round-trip TCE of about $500 below zero and there are reports overnight of NPI taking a Frontline vessel at WS31 to Yingkou in North China. In the Atlantic, rates for 260,000mt West Africa to China dropped seven points to WS32.5 – a round-trip TCE of $1,600/day – and here overnight reports have Unipec taking a Frontline vessel at WS32. Meanwhile, 270,000mt from US Gulf to China saw rates fall over $500k to $4.25m (about $7k/day TCE round-trip).


In the 135,000mt Black Sea/Med market rates have fallen 7.5 points to the WS70 level (~$5,500/day TCE) while in the 130,000mt Nigeria/UK Continent market, rates have dipped by 1.5 points to the low WS60s (~$7.7k/day TCE). The assessment of the market for 140,000mt Basrah/Med remained flat at WS20.5 with fixtures reported this week at WS19.5 and WS22.5.


In the Mediterranean, the market has eased significantly with rates for 80,000mt Ceyhan/Lavera diving 22.5 points to mid WS90s (a TCE of about $7.4k/day basis a round voyage). In Northern Europe, the market for 80,000mt Cross-North Sea fell back eight points to WS100 level ($5.6k/day TCE) while rates for 100,000mt Baltic/UK Continent fell 8.5 points to the low WS80s ($11.2k/day TCE). On the other side of the Atlantic rates for 70,000mt Caribbean/US Gulf have fallen a further five points to WS77 region (a TCE of about minus $600/day) while for 70,000mt US Gulf/UK Continent rates have remained steady at the WS75 mark.


Two consecutive short weeks saw momentum shift in charterers’ favour and in the 75,000mt Middle East Gulf/Japan trade, rates eased by around 4.5 points to WS126.25 region and it was a similar story in the LR1 market with rates softening 3 points to close to WS132.5. The 35,000mt AG/East Africa trade came under downward pressure and now sits at WS162.5 region having started the week in the high WS170s. For owners plying the 37,000 Cont/USAC trade it has been a disappointing week with the market sliding from WS140 down to WS125 before a modest recovery to WS130. The MR market into West Africa followed a similar pattern with rates down 10 points at WS140. In the 38,000mt backhaul trade from US Gulf to UKContinent it was an uneventful week with the market losing 3 points to WS81.5 level while the US Gulf /Brazil trade was flat at WS126.25. The market in the 30,000mt cross-Mediterranean trade came under renewed downward pressure and now sits at WS140.

Source: The Baltic Briefing

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