Rates edge up as activity increases
There was a healthy demand for very large crude carriers (VLCCs) from the Gulf, particularly to Far East destinations, with a total of 28 fixtures concluded amounting to 7.2 million tonnes.
Despite this upturn in activity, only slight improvements in rate levels were achieved. The last reported fixtures to Korea were at Worldscale (WS) 57.5 and to Japan WS 60.
Fixing to the West was limited and the rate for the US Gulf remained unchanged at WS 52.5.
It is predicted that about 65 vessels totalling 18.5 million tonnes will become available in the Gulf within the next four weeks. Bearing in mind that only about a dozen of these are modern, it is reasonable to expect a steady increase in rates for October.
Aframax activity increased slightly with rates for older tonnage to Singapore improving to about WS 110, whereas more modern tonnage was able to achieve about a 10-point premium.
Activity, and consequently rate levels, from West Africa remained similar to the previous week with million-barrel tonnage fixing generally at between WS 80 and WS 82.5 for both the United States and Europe.
The Aframax market in the Mediterranean would now appear to have locked into a Conference rate of about WS 100 for inter-Med voyages.
Demand and supply also appear to be in equilibrium in the Caribbean where the rate for voyages to the USAC and US Gulf now seems to be firmly established at about WS 130 for 70,000 tonnes.