Fearnleys published its weekly tanker report for Week 11 on March 15, 2023.
Presently, we sit in the gap between the March and April stems in the MEG. Charterers will be patiently waiting for stem dates with a cautious eye on the tonnage list. The Basrah dates are out however, and Smaxes actively working, providing plenty of support from below with bigger numbers reported (130 x w175 on subs).
Saudi stems expected tomorrow, and there is potential for charterers to play it wrong, falling on top of each other, and we move to three figures MEG/China. However, picking softer candidates from the shadows may be the best tactic, as by the 3rd – 4th April, the MEG list opens out, the other side of this end March bottleneck.
The Atlantic continues to fix at higher levels – USD 11.4m latest USG/East and these decent levels will be needed to continue to tempt ballasters and Wafr remains quiet to test.
A deluge of enquiry blankets the Suezmax market with a firmer outlook in all load-zones. West Africa has displayed massive volatility with the region failing to establish a benchmark for more than a couple of days at most. After bottoming at WS 115, TD20 last traded end March dates at WS 117.5, but those rates are likely to ebb from charterers very quickly with WS 120 on the cards. Across the pond, we have seen enquiry levels tick up and with that so should rates.
Lightering continues to thin out the list with evident upside. In the East, WS 70+ been logged for MEG/UKCM, albeit on option cargoes, but with the list of 20T crane vessels thinning out on the early side, a straight run might price close to these numbers before the week has finished. Strong VLCC market also adds an element of psychological support.
We had a temporarily dip in Aframax rates in the Nsea this week on the back of lower activity. At the time of writing, we see rates ex West coast Norway pick up fixing at WS 170 levels. Owners will still be very competitive for any TA cargoes from the Cont. We expect the activity to remain healthy for the remainder of the month and rates moving sideways, unless we see more ships ballast or fixed out of the area.
Med/BSea bottomed at the start of last week as charterers pushed for lower rates on the back of a longer list mainly consisting of ballasters from the East. Activity was steady, and as a result owners managed to push rates higher again. Market instability persists for another week West of Suez, with the main driver still being the USG market. We expect the Med/BSea to find a new equilibrium around current levels.
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