Markets - VLCCs experiencing softer conditions

Nov 15 2019

An active VLCC market was seen last week, with most fixtures concluded under the radar, as the softer trend continued.

The MEG count moved up towards 135, and charterers were already looking at early December loadings, Fearnleys reported.


The Atlantic showed signs of more activity, but at this stage it will most likely dampen the soft trend rather than turning it around.


Most of the tanker market participants are in Dubai for the Bahri Reception and we will not be surprised if by Friday, more ships had disappeared under the radar at last done levels, the broker said.


The Atlantic Suezmax market finally hit the bottom this week and even bounced back by some points.


Some charterers ex West Africa held back a bit too long and ended up being above WS100 for WAfrica/UK-Cont-Med.


The West African position list is looking short for November dates, and owners were finally feeling a bit more bullish after two slow weeks.


One factor that could also help this market going forward is that fog had arrived in the Turkish Straits. This, and expected increasing cargo activity, could point towards a positive market in the next weeks.


On the other hand, in the East, the market looked to be really slow. Hopefully, a bullish WAfrica market could make owners ballast some ships, but until then, Fearnleys expected the East market to remain slow.


Following a relatively slow week in the Baltic and North Sea markets, an upwards correction in Aframax rates was seen during the last few days.


As the tonnage list tightened and there were still cargoes in the market yet to be covered in the 20-25 window, ex Baltic, the broker expected the market to stay firm in the week to come.


In the Mediterranean and Black Sea, the market also bounced back this week. Much to the excitement of owners, an active market was seen with an upward trend in rate levels, which resulted in benchmark routes ex Black Sea and cross-Med picking up around WS20 points.


Although we still see a healthy tonnage list, we expect the market to stay firm in the week to come, due to the sufficient amount of cargoes currently coming into the market, Fearnleys concluded.


In the period market, VLCCs also suffered a downward correction and a number of longer term deals were recorded, Alibra Shipping said.


The clean sector period market was also lower with MRs now averaging $15,750 per day.


Brokers reported that the ‘Bacaliaros’ had been fixed to undisclosed interests for 12 months at $40,000 per day.


Oil prices steadied earlier this week on the back of President Trump outlining details of the current position with trade talks with China.


In the S&P sector, the past few weeks have been busy mainly with older MR sales.


Alibra said that the average age of MRs sold this month was 16 years and the average price was $10.5 mill.


Two VLCC sales were reported on brokers’ lists recently. Mitsui OSK Lines’ ‘Phoenix Vanguard’, built 2007, was committed to Delta Tankers for $42 mill and Angelicoussis’ ‘Astro Challenge’ built 2002, to Turkish buyers for $32 mill.


Valles Steamship has sold the 2002-built Aframax ‘Seanostrum’ to UAE buyers for $14.5 mill.


In the MR sector, TORM reportedly sold the 2003-built ‘Torm Rosetta’ to undisclosed buyers for $9.7 mill. In addition, the 2009-built MR ‘Orestes’ was believed to have been sold to Atlantica Shipping for $19.25 mill.


China Merchants was thought to be negotiating at least four VLCC newbuildings for around $85 mill apiece.


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