OPEC meeting poses threat to depressed rates
RATE levels reflect very closely those at this time last year, although production levels are higher, at more than 25 million barrels per day.
The forthcoming OPEC meeting could reduce that figure by more than one million barrels a day which would further depress rate levels.
Levels last week were on a downward spiral, with a British major obtaining a 270,000 tonner for a voyage from the Middle East Gulf to Rotterdam at WorldScale (WS) 42.5 although Kuwaiti principals have reportedly fixed numerous vessels to the West at WS 45 - the option of discharging in the Red Sea carrying a 2.5 point premium.
The present level for the smaller size very-large crude carriers (VLCCs) to Korea stands at WS 45, and WS 48.5 was paid for Japan.
Last week 34 vessels remained for the balance of February, totalling about 19 million deadweight tonnes (dwt), a large proportion made up of ultra-large crude carriers (ULCCs), estimated to be 13 vessels of five million dwt.
Aframax tonnage operating out of Africa has averaged around WS 100 for Eastern destinations, although there have been instances of better rates for superior tonnage.
There has been no obvious change in rate levels for vessels up to the million-barrel size operating out of West Africa where the norm has been WS 80 for the US Gulf, WS 82.5 for USAC and WS 85 for UK-Continent-Mediterranean.
The situation for black oil carriers in the Caribbean continued to be firm, with a high peak of WS 150 paid for a 70,000-tonner to the US Gulf. A similar vessel got WS 140 from east-coast Mexico to the same destination.
Owners did not have long to enjoy high rates out of the North Sea as they have fallen back to WS 87.5 for the 80,000-tonne inter-UK voyage although a similar size vessel taking a cargo to Portland, Oregon at WS 125 showed a somewhat better return than the previous week.
LR-size vessels were able to maintain a rate level of WS 142.5 on 55,000-tonne cargoes loading in the Middle East Gulf for discharge in Japan.
Report supplied by London ship broker E.A. Gibson.
Smaller size units also managed their previous levels for eastern trading at around WS 170 for discharging in India and WS 147.5 to WS 152.5 for South Korea and Japan discharge.
Interest has remained in the Mediterranean for traders to move cargoes to both eastern and western destinations where the present level is US$600,000 lump-sum from the Mediterranean to west coast India, and WS 190 for voyages to the US, both based on 30,000 tonnes.