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Baltic Exchange Shipping Insights
The LR2 market for 75,000 tonnes, Middle East Gulf to Japan, has continued to soften, and now sits at around WS 90, down from the high WS 90s of last week. LR1s also eased 2.5 WS points to WS 110 for 55,000 tonnes to Japan.
It was a much more positive week for the Cont/USAC 37,000 trade, as rates jumped over 30 points to around WS 135 region. In the 38,000 tonnes backhaul trade, the market firmed modestly to almost WS 87.5.
Diminished volumes of enquiry have seen rates in the Middle East Gulf come under renewed downward pressure, with the market for 270,000 tonnes to China losing around four points to barely WS 40 level; Athenian tonnage fixed to South Korea at WS 35.
Going west, it is a similar story with 280,000 tonnes to US Gulf, now assessed 1.5 points lower at WS 18.5, Cape/Cape. West Africa/China runs have felt the chill winds from the Middle East Gulf, with rates down almost four points to WS 40.5 for 260,000 tonnes.
Unipec fixed, and failed, a US Gulf/China run at $4.25 million. Vitol covered a Hound Point/Far East run at around $3.9 million.
The pressure has been mounting in West Africa, and rates have slipped from WS 55 to between WS 50/52.5, depending on the discharge port in UK-Continent. Black Sea rates have similarly weakened, and now sit at WS 72.5/73 for 135,000 tonnes to Mediterranean, while a run to US Gulf went at WS 47.5.
A long voyage from Algeria to South Korea was fixed at $2.35 million. Closer to home a Hariga/Med voyage went at WS 72.5, basis 130,000 tonnes.
Although the ice season is coming to an end, with ice restrictions lifted in Ust Luga, plenty of enquiry has seen rates move sharply upwards, with the market gaining 20 points to around WS 85, there is even talk of WS 87.5 being agreed.
The firmer sentiment here has also filtered through to the 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea trade, with the market gaining 7.5 WS points, to now sit at WS 97.5 region.
In the 80,000 tonnes cross Med market, charterers have again been spoilt for choice, with Ceyhan load now reported fixed at WS 77.5, Sidi Kerir at WS 70 and Libya paying between WS 75/77.5.
Earlier in the week, Black Sea was fixed at WS 73.75, representing a low for the year.
The 70,000 tonnes Caribbean/upcoast market, was steady, in the mid WS 90s, before a clear out of early tonnage saw rates nudge up to WS 97.5.
Status quo was maintained for 55,000 tonnes, ARA or Skikda to US Gulf, with the market hovering at, or close to, WS 100 level.
Sentiment gathered momentum during the week and rates for the main C5 route improved over $1 to currently stand at almost $6.40, with market talk of fixtures, perhaps around $6.50 level, not yet substantiated.
Whilst there has been a lack of timecharter fixtures in the Pacific, the better voyage rates have affected the published values, which have jumped from the low $8,000's at the end of last week, to $11,750 today.
Rates for Teluk Rubiah to Qingdao, have nudged up to $4.65, which was fixed by Vale on the Mineral Subic (179,397 2011). Saldanha Bay to Qingdao, was last fixed at $10.10 by Anglo American on the Xin Fu Hai (178,332 2016).
Brazil has not been that active, but a number of the prompter vessels have been covered, and rates for Tubarao to Qingdao are now in the $13's, with Cargill said to have fixed the Bosporus (179,177 2016) for end-April, loading at $13.50.
Similar levels are rumoured for loading ex-Sudeste, with Trafigura linked to the Kyla Fortune (170,726 2001) earlier in the week at $13.45.
Refined Success fixed their Drummond to Eren cargo, loading early May, at $7.50 on Bunge tonnage. Arcelormittal fixed the Polymnia (175,800 2011), for Port Cartier to Fos, basis 19/28 April, at $6.50.
There was talk of TS Global fixing CCL tonnage for its Narvik to Port Talbot, at $3.95 on their e-platform, however the business was not concluded, and the cargo was withdrawn.
Earlier in the week, the Ocean Duke (180,361 2010), open Bayuquan 14/20 April, fixed 11-13 months TC $17,000 to Daelim. There was talk of the Koch vessel Mineral Faith (175,620 2012), open Rugao end April, fixing short period to Kore Shipping Corporation.
It remains to be seen where the rates go for next week, as owners' expectations are on the up.
After two weeks of relative inactivity on the period market, despite consistent appetite from Charterers, concluded trades resumed this week, as the paper market seemed to signal a bottoming out, and tried to pre-empt a reversal, on the physical market.
A modern Kamsarmax, open in the Middle East, fixed at $14,000 for 12-14 months, in addition, several vessels fixed for short periods at similar levels to those seen previously, all at premiums to the current spot market.
Vessels in the North Atlantic struggled to achieve levels close to last achieved, as an oversupply of tonnage on early positions played in to charterers' hands.
However, in the South, the market saw a steady volume of fixing all week until Thursday, when sources said the market went "nuts".
With so much fixing, levels have improved, and are back to pre-Easter levels, with a modern Kamsarmax covered at $16,750 plus $675,000 delivery, aps East coast South America, for first half May.
By contrast, the Pacific has remained very dull and uninspiring all week, with little fresh enquiry evident, spot rates have slipped, and owners have been looking at either period business or positional cargoes.
The week started on a very quiet note; with routes across the board losing momentum. However, as the week comes to a close, more activity is being seen.
Little came to light in the way of period activity, but a 56,000-dwt open Paradip, was linked to an index deal for 11-13 months, worldwide trading.
In the Atlantic, a 61,500-dwt vessel was fixed basis delivery US Gulf, for a trip to the Mediterranean, in the mid $16,000s. East Mediterranean struggled, but some said a base might have been found.
A 61,000-dwt was fixed, from here, back to the US Gulf, with pig iron, in the low $6,000s. East coast South America remained steady. However, a 66,000-dwt was fixed for a front haul redelivery, Singapore-Japan, in the low $16,000s plus $600,000 ballast bonus.
From Asia, some areas also showed signs that a bottom had been found.
A 57,000-dwt open Philippines was fixed for a trip via Indonesia, redelivery India, at $13,500.
A 58,000-dwt open Pasir Gudang, was fixed for two to three laden legs at $13,500.
A 58,000-dwt was reported fixed for a trip delivery Cebu, via the Philippines redelivery China, with nickel ore, at $13,000.
Further north, a 56,000 open CJK, was fixed at $11,000 for a trip via East coast Australia, redelivery India.
From the Indian Ocean little came to light, a 56,100-dwt open Mina Saqr, fixed a trip redelivery Persian Gulf, with aggregate, in the mid- high $12,000s. It remains to be seen if clearer gains will be made next week
Improving rates from Skaw-Passero and East coast South America, in addition to continuous falling rates from the US Gulf, set the theme for the week. The Pacific market showed more signs of softening since the beginning of the week.
In the Atlantic, a 37,000-dwt open East coast South America, was fixed for a grain trip to the Baltic Sea, at $12,500 daily. An Imabari 28 type was booked from the US Gulf to the Mediterranean at $10,250 daily.
Another 32,000-dwt was reportedly fixed for a trip, also from the US Gulf, with redelivery in the UK Continent, at a relatively low rate of $10,000 per day.
In the Pacific, a 35,000-dwt open Singapore, was booked to East coast North Atlantic at mid-high $8,000s for the first 60 days, and $12,000 daily thereafter. A 33,000-dwt open Vietnam, was paid $9,000 daily for a coal run to Japan.
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