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Demand Keeps Momentum in the VLCC market

As the winter season in the northern hemisphere draws nearer, things are beginning to heat up in the tanker markets as well. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Charles R. Weber said that “the VLCC market saw rates remain range bound at elevated levels on sustained demand strength in the Middle East and West Africa markets. The Middle East market observed 38 fixtures, representing a three‐week high and a 31% w/w gain. The West Africa market observed eight fixtures, also a three‐week high and three more than last week’s tally. Strong efforts to correct crude oil prices have been observed from Saudi Arabia, raising the specter of further demand gains from the Middle East region as new supply reaches the market. The October Middle East program yielded 157 spot cargoes, representing a record high and a 12% gain from September’s spot cargo program. In the first decade of the November program, cargo demand jumped to 54 cargoes, which is a 10% gain on the first decade of the October program, underscoring fresh demand gains. Moreover, recent Saudi commitments to increase supply are too new to be reflected in these demand gains”.

According to CR Weber, VLCC demand in the USG market evaporated this week with no fixtures reported. USG Aframax lightering rates have surged this week, guiding prompt Aframax lightering rates to over $60,000/day, which adds significantly to the freight cost component of US crude exports; uncertainty around the forward Aframax rate environment could maintain lower regional VLCC demand through at least the near term.  Any associated adverse impact on VLCC trade dynamics and thus freight rates is of low likelihood as prevailing fundamentals suggest near‐term strength. The Middle East availability surplus concluded the October program with 12 units and declined to nine during the first decade of the November program. We project that the tally will decline further during November’s second decade to just six units”, said the shipbroker.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, as per CR Weber, rates on the AG‐CHINA route added four points to conclude the week at ws90. Corresponding TCEs rose by 9% to ~$50,245/day. Rates to the USG via the Cape concluded unchanged at ws34. Triangulated Westbound earnings eased $16/day to ~$57,652/day. Similarly, in the Atlantic Basin, rates in the West Africa market followed those in the Middle East. The WAFR‐CHINA route was up by 5 points to ws85. Corresponding TCEs rose by 11% to ~$47,802/day. Rates in the Atlantic Americas were steady on a tight regional supply/demand profile. The USG‐SPORE benchmark route was unchanged at $7.0m lump sum”.

In the Suezmax segment, “the West Africa Suezmax market remained strong this week on stronger regional demand and a tightening global supply/demand positioning. The week’s regional tally of fixtures rose 70% w/w to seventeen fixtures – a seven‐week high. Rates on the WAFR‐UKC route added 7.5 points to conclude at ws107.5. In the Atlantic Americas, surging demand for Aframaxes extended rate gains to alternative size classes while natural Suezmax demand remained elevated. The CBS‐ USG route added five points to conclude at 150 x ws125. The USG‐UKC route added 2.5 points to conclude at 130 x ws120 while the USG‐SPORE route added $200k to $4.30m lump sum”, CR Weber said.

Finally, in the Aframax market, “the Caribbean Aframax market observed considerable rate strength this week on strong demand and a run on units to service USG‐area lightering. The CBS‐USG route jumped 60 points to conclude at ws265 while the USG‐UKC route added 80 points to conclude at ws235. Lightering rates jumped from $40,000/day a week ago to over $60,000/day. A shortage of units on the front‐end of the list factored heavily into these gains – particularly as a failure to secure prompt units for USG lightering threatened to backup area crude pipeline systems tied to crude exports. As units free during the upcoming week and the situation eases, rates should moderate in tandem. Still, we envision that rates will remain elevated through at least the near‐ term, relative to levels observed during Q3”, the shipbroker concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide.

Published On Tuesday,October 30th,2018 @ www.seajobhunt.com !!!

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