Tanker Market Overview : East Softens And Atlantic Finds Strength

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VLCC

A softening market in the East, as the 10-20 March window slowly got underway in the MEG. With charterers working quietly, yet efficiently, rates have fallen to the WS 60 level at the time of writing (Korean cargoes a touch less, albeit on older tonnage), the speed of said drop much to the surprise of some market commentators. Evidently, a combination of ever lengthening position lists and lack of open market volume taking its toll. The much talked about ‘bottom’ of the market is continually being sort, but current fundamentals suggest we are not there yet.

Some strength to be found in the Atlantic however, with a USG cargo reportedly only gaining 2 offers at USD 10m + off early April dates, but Petrobras were able to gather 6-7 offers on their stem for 23-24 March, so vessels are ballasting from the East, and a potential dilution more than possible.

Suezmax

Last week told a story of a downwards correction on nearly all sizes. This meant that the early part of this week was about the Suezmax market resetting and finding its levels. The Mediterranean/Black Sea has been overtonnaged and quietly, not helped by the lack of Libya exports. There was a cheap USG/UKCM voyage done below what others considered to be the bottom, and since then the USG has been trying to claw back some momentum. What has helped is a couple of replacements in this market which now sits comfortably in the mid WS 90s. TD20 yesterday paid 130 x WS 102.5 on an oil company relet, and there’s a handful or cargoes there to fix this morning. We expect rates to certainly push up to WS 105, if not more. MEG has been somewhat lagging. Very little activity to report. In recent times, owners’ sentiment in the West is largely based on USG exports, and for the first time in a while, we are starting to see some cargoes that the owners can use to gain back some ground lost over the last 10 days.

Aframax

A lot of relet programming has depleted available stems, and the lack of activity has seen rates fall further as dates push out to end 1st decade March. Softer surrounding markets also not providing any support and encouraging vessels to ballast. Stem count looking better after 1st decade so we should see some pick-up in activity.

The Mediterranean Aframax market have continued to slip this week with tonnage stacked high for end first decade of March fixing. There is a need for continued activity to tie up vessels and support rates in the region, as we look to find the bottom of this market. The Black Sea has also been tested down and USG showing softer trends; the overall outlook on the Aframax for the time being is poor.

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Source : Fearn pulse