Markets - Calm after the storm

Oct 18 2019

Following rates yielding up to $300,000 per day, owners were brought back to earth this week, as everything negotiated at above WS205 ($200,000per day) failed on subjects.

That said, the recent earnings scaled heights not seen for decades, Fearnleys reported.

Much of the recent hike was as a result of various alleged US sanctions breaches, Iran, Venezuela, etc, fuelled further by charterers/traders trying to arbitrage on freight.

With these fixtures failing, plus additional oil company relets, the position list has widened, balancing the supply/demand picture.

MEG/East rates were around half of what they were going into last weekend. However, the underlying fundamentals remain strong, which will support a much higher floor for the balance of the year.

After two fantastic weeks for Suezmax owners, charterers managed to hold back more of their cargoes. The ‘panic-fixing’ is over, and the market will start to move downwards to more sustainable levels.

One result of this peak was that the market’s bottom level going forward has been lifted significantly. At the start of 4Q, even though rates are softening, owners are going to enjoy really good returns for the rest of this year, Fearnleys said.

The Baltic and North Sea Aframax markets remained firm in the past week. Activity in the North Sea was the main driving force in the upward pressure on rates.

In the week to come, the Baltic market is expected to come into play and combined with North Sea activities, will push rates up even further.

Similarly, in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, enough cargoes have entered the market to balance out the healthy tonnage list, and activity out of Libya and Black Sea has contributed in firming rates.

There are still cargoes yet to be fixed and the market outlook is firm, Fearnleys concluded.

As for the period market, once again it followed the spot market, Alibra Shipping said.

This week, several period Suezmax fixtures were reported. In this sector, the average timecharter rate was estimated at $42,500 per day for a 12 month period.

The clean sector was led by LR2s and strengthened this week although by not as much as seen in the crude segment. Some LRs were seen switching to dirty cargoes.

Oil prices fell 1.5% earlier this week following two days of weak economic data from China and continued concerns over the trade war, Alibra said.

Illustrating the market’s strength, Trafigura was reported to have fixed two VLCCs for 12 months at $47,000 per day apiece and a Suezmax at $32,000 per day, broking sources said.

Koch was also believed to have fixed a VLCC for $50,000 per day for 12 months business, while Mercuria was thought to have taken a VLCC for three years at $46,000 per day.

MRs were being negotiated at between $14,500 to $17,500 per day for period charters, brokers said.

In the newbuilding sector, Hyundai Samho has confirmed it had won an order for a VLCC from an undisclosed European interest.

The contract was worth KRW112.7 bill (about $94 mill), according to a stock exchange filing by Hyundai and the vessel is due for delivery at the end of the first quarter of 2021.

A company identified as Blake Wake Shipping was thought to have ordered an MR at Hyundai Mipo for $36 mill for 2021 delivery.

Elsewhere, this week, AET held a naming ceremony for two of the world's first LNG dual-fuel dynamic positioning shuttle tankers (DPSTs).

The vessels will emit 40-48% less carbon than equivalent vessels built in 2008, AET claimed.

The sister twin-skeg 123,100 dwt shuttle tankers, ‘Eagle Blane’ and ‘Eagle Balder’, were unveiled at the Geoje Shipyard of Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI).

They will be operated by Equinor on long-term charters serving the Norwegian Continental Shelf of the North Sea, Norwegian Sea and the southern Barents Sea, as well as on the UK Continental Shelf oil fields.

Powered using LNG as a primary fuel, the DPSTs will also be able to capture 100% of the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), which escape into the air from crude oil cargoes during loading and voyage for reuse as a supplementary fuel.

In the S&P segment, Zodiac was said to have purchased the 2012-built VLCC ‘Brightoil Galaxy’ at auction for $61.5 mill.

Another VLCC, the 2000-built ‘DS Commodore’ was thought snapped up by NGM for $22 mill, while Tufton Oceanic was believed behind the purchase of the 2005-built Suezmax ‘Cape Bonny’ for $20 mill.

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