There was little activity in the East this week on both LRs and MRs as a combination of high bunker prices, lack of enquiries and a long tonnage list combined to ensure that charterers remained in control and owners unwilling to fix at low levels. TC5 (AG-Japan) was fixed at W/S 95, giving a TCE equivalent of -$850pd. Further West the story of high bunker prices and long tonnage lists was much the same for vessels waiting in the USG. However, there was slightly better news with TC2 (Cont – USAC) vessels on subs around the WS145 level, up from 126, giving a healthier TCE of $5092pd. But how long this can hold up as ballasters are attracted from the US is anyone’s guess.    


Lunar New Year meant that the first half of the week was very quiet. However, the return to work for the Asian market has barely added any meaningful activity in this sector. Rates for 280,000mt Middle East Gulf/USG (via Cape of Good Hope) remained unmoved at the WS17-17.5 level while the 270,000mt Middle East Gulf/China route slipped 1.5 points to just below WS34 (which shows a round trip TCE of minus $8,300 per day). In the Atlantic region the 260,000mt West Africa/China trip also lost 1.5 points to just under WS35 (a round-trip TCE of minus $6,300 per day) and 270,000mt US Gulf/China is $84,000 weaker at $4.378m (a round-trip TCE of minus $5,700 per day).


The rate for 130,000mt Nigeria/UKC eased three points to WS65 (showing a round-trip TCE of $2,200 per day), with oil company and trader relets leading the way down. For the 135,000mt Black Sea/Augusta route, rates shed two points to WS 72.5 level (round-trip TCE showing minus $640). In the 140,000mt Basrah/West Mediterranean market a few ships were reported on subjects with BP and rates remain static in the WS29-30 range.


The 80,000mt Ceyhan/Mediterranean market was modestly weaker, with rates falling back 1.5 points to WS100 which shows a round-trip TCE of $4,900 per day). In Northern Europe rates for 80,000mt Hound Point/UKC were again motionless at WS95 (a round-trip TCE of minus $3,800 per day). In the 100,000mt Baltic/UKC market, rates fell another four points to WS80 (a TCE of $3,900 per day). On the other side of the Atlantic, it was another week of slightly improved rates on the short-haul voyages. A 70,000mt Caribbean/US Gulf was up two points to WS100 (a round-trip TCE of $160 per day) and 70,000mt EC Mexico/US Gulf rates were three points higher than a week ago in the WS102.5-105 region (a TCE of about $2,500 per day round trip). In the US Gulf/UK Continent market the 70,000mt Covenas/US Gulf trip lost a point to WS108 ($5,800 per day round-tip TCE).