The LR2 market has become firm with rates for 75,000 tonnes from Middle East Gulf to Japan up by 15 points to around WS 115 with LR1s steady at WS 115 basis 55,000 tonnes cargo.
In the 37,000 tonnes Cont/USAC trade, the market held at WS 155/157.5 level before there was talk of Repsol taking two Scorpio ships at a softer WS 150. The 38,000 tonnes backhaul trade from US Gulf/UKCont has gained around 15/17.5 points reach to WS 115/117.5 level.
A better week for owners in the north with ice spreading in the Baltic and rates improving 15 points to WS 85 basis 100,000 tonnes; the 80,000 tonnes cross North Sea market now at WS 100, up 10 points from a week ago.
A Sullom Voe cargo is said to have been fixed at WS 105.
The 70,000 tonnes Caribbean/upcoast market has been steady at WS 110/112.5 region.
There is a sense of déjà vu in the Middle East Gulf with rates for 270,000 tonnes to China hovering around WS 37/38, while going west, 280,000 tonnes cape/cape to US Gulf still pays around WS 17.5.
West Africa to China weakened marginally to WS 41 for 260,000 tonnes cargo. Crude from Hound Point to South Korea was unchanged at $3.7 million.
Fuel from Rotterdam to Singapore was fixed at both $2.65 and $2.75 million, while UML covered at $2.6 million, but this was on Iranian tonnage.
In the Caribbean area, HOB paid $4.25 million for EC Mexico to South Korea.
West Africa rates have nudged up almost five points with ENI paying WS 60 for 130,000 tonnes from Angola and Exxon also paid WS 60 both to Europe, while Monroe took Agelef tonnage to USAC at WS 60.
Black Sea rates are benefiting from the firmer West Africa market with rates edging up towards WS 70 for 135,000 tonnes.
In the Mediterranean, Exxon paid $2.56 million for Algeria to Melbourne while Petraco paid $1.65 million from Libya to Singapore.
A short Libya to Fos run went at WS 77.5 basis 130,000 tonnes.
After a cargo from North Spain to US Gulf went at WS105, ‘Antikeros’ achieved an improved level of WS 110 from Skikda to US Gulf and this latter fixture appears to have encouraged owners on the Continent with rates here now at around WS 107.5 for 55,000 tonnes.
Cautious optimism was eroded early in the first full working week since the Chinese New Year holidays.
Rates quickly fell on the key West Australia/China run despite at least 10 ships fixed in one day. By mid-week this rate stood at $6.20 but some resistance emerged and with more operator interest evident, rates recovered to the mid $6.00s by the close of the week.
Timecharter rates varied with a 2004 175,000-tonner fixed from Zhoushan for an Australian round at $10,000 daily and a 2010-built 179,000-tonner fixing at $13,000 daily.
East Australia provided a premium with a 171,000 tonner fixing a round at $14,000 daily.
Brazil activity sporadic around $16.00 for prompt-first half March dates from Tubarao to Qingdao and around $16.50 for late March onwards.
North Atlantic remained extremely slow particularly on the transatlantic trades.
EZDK took a ship coming from Qingdao for a cargo from Tubarao to El Dekheila at $6.95.
Front haul rates included a 2004-built 180,000-tonner fixed from Rotterdam for coal from the US Gulf or the US east coast to India at $26,00 daily.
Despite an uncertain spot market, charterers continued to take tonnage for period with rates for standard capes in the east still seeing around $20,000 daily for a year.
Period rates defied spot market fluctuations with rumours of a modern Kamsarmax fixed at $15,000 for one year and a 76,000 dwt of similar age fixed at $14,000/$15,250 for one option one year.
Mid-week, a Post Panamax open India also achieved a firm $16,250 for five to seven months, yet rates from east coast South America softened for March dates with talk of $31.75 per mt agreed Brazil/China.
Talk of April fixed multiple times at $35.00 per mt.
The north Atlantic suffered from a lack of fresh enquiry, with only a few INL breachers achieving healthy levels for short Baltic rounds, and competition from ballasters now rating business from Kamsar and north coast South America.
The Pacific remained steady. Good volume of round voyages and continued Indonesian activity seen but with more owners now considering inter Pacific business due to falling FFA values and a softening east coast South American market, levels mirrored last done.
Two modern Kamsarmaxes achieved low-mid $13,000s for Australian rounds but similar units still discounted for positional trips to India which fixed at under $11,000 in preparation for the second quarter east coast South American market.
The Supramax section remained buoyant with all areas making gains especially from the Asian sector with sentiment positive.
Period activity was seen with a Dolphin 57 open Ningde fixed for minimum four to about six months trading at $12,500 and a 63,000-dwt open Subic Bay early March put on subjects at $14,500 for five to eight months trading. However, it was unclear if subjects were lifted.
Atlantic routes remained stable. From the US Gulf a 58,700 was reported fixed basis delivery Houston for a trip to the Mediterranean with petcoke at $19,000.
A 53,300 was fixed basis delivery SW Pass trip redelivery west coast Central America/west coast South America at $22,000.
More activity was seen from the east Mediterranean as a 63,200-dwt was reported basis delivery Canakkale redelivery China at $24,000, and a 52,000-dwt was fixed also delivery Canakkale trip via Black Sea redelivery Egypt at $11,600.
A mixed bag from east coast South America with a 57,000-dwt was rumoured fixed basis delivery Recalada from the 8 March with days waiting for a trip to Bejaia with grains at $14,000.
In Asia stronger numbers were seen. A 58,000-dwt open Singapore was said to be booked for an Indonesia trip redelivery south China at $15,000.
A 56,000-dwt was reported fixed basis delivery Kaohsiung 5-10 March trip via Philippines redelivery China with nickel ore at $13,000.
From the Indian Ocean a 55,600-dwt was taken basis delivery Richards Bay trip redelivery west coast India at $12,250 plus $225,000 ballast bonus
Rates from the US Gulf stayed positive whilst the east coast South America market slipped towards the weekend.
Since mid-week, the Pacific market showed strong improvement and rates moved sharply higher for larger and smaller-sized handy vessels delivery in the Far East and Southeast Asia.
In the Atlantic, a voyage fixture of 30,000 tonnes maize from Topolobampo to Puerto Cabello was reportedly fixed on a 34,000-dwt at $29.00 with 6,000 tonnes load and 3,000 tonnes discharge rate.
A 38,000-dwt was paid $13,000 daily delivery Recalada for a trip to the Continent.
From the east, a 32,000-dwt was fixed on subjects from South Korea to Southeast Asia at a rate close to mid $9,000s, and a 38,000-dwt was fixed at $11,000 daily basis delivery in north China for a trip to Singapore.
A 33,000-dwt open Singapore was reportedly booked at $10,500 daily for Australia round voyage with redelivery in Singapore-Japan range.
For longer durations, a 38,000-dwt open Thailand in early March for a trip to the Tampa-Veracruz range at US$7,500 daily for the first 58 days and $11,500 daily thereafter.
From 01 March 2018, previously announced changes to the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) are being implemented.
The BDI will be re-weighted to the following ratios of timecharter assessments:
40% Capesize, 30% Panamax and 30% Supramax. It will no longer include the Handysize timecharter average.
A multiplier of 0.1 will be applied to the calculation.
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Source: Business Times