Mediterranean and Black Sea aframax deals enter festive lull
The cost to hire aframax tankers in the Mediterranean and Black Sea markets fell last week, while the Caribbean and east of Suez routes saw gains.
This week, with trading shortened in most areas owing to Christmas, rates are set to end in a similar mixed fashion.
?Last week in the Mediterranean, charterers covered most of their end-December cargoes. This week marked the start of the Christmas break, so demand, in what is traditionally a quiet period, is understandably low,"" a Piraeus-based broker said.
Average daily earnings for all aframax regions combined dropped 17% by the end of last week to $53,721, pressured by a 47% fall by the end of the period in cross-Mediterranean earnings and a 45% slide for the Black Sea, according to London broker Clarksons.
?However, any drop in Mediterranean and Black Sea rates this week is not expected to be as marked as over the last seven days, as owners have started to dig in their heels in a move to resist further large declines ahead of an increase in January bookings,"" the broker said.
Rates for voyages on the Baltic Exchange"s TD11 route, based on trips across the Mediterranean from Banias in Syria to Lavera in France, are currently trading in a range of W140-W145, slightly down from the end of last week, he said.
Bad weather in the region is also lending some support. Delays in the Turkish straits that connect the Black and Mediterranean Seas via the Aegean are running at three to four days, the broker added.
Rates ended the period at W300
Inclement weather disruption helped lift rates in the Caribbean last week despite previous market expectations for a fall by Friday. Rates ended the period at W300, up from W260, according to Clarksons.
The tonnage list was tighter in the region than in other aframax markets, so further rate gains are expected, albeit not as strong as in the previous week, the analyst said.
The Baltic Exchange"s TD9 route, covering trips from Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, to Corpus Christi, Texas, is slightly up to about W335-W340, the broker said.
Rates east of Suez rose moderately last week, reflecting increases in winter demand for oil. ?This region is less affected by Christmas holidays than other markets and the steady upward trend is seen remaining this week as more bookings for January cargoes are made,? the broker said.
Shell was reported to have chartered the 105,656 dwt, 2002-built Alfa Italia to carry 80,000 tonnes of crude oil from Libya across the Mediterranean on Christmas Day, at W140.
Italian oil firm Italiana Energi Servizi was said to have hired the 98,805 dwt, 1996-built Astro Sirius to transport an 80,000-tonne stem from the Egyptian port of Sidi Kerir to Venice on December 27, at W150.
East of Suez, brokers said Geneva-based oil conglomerate Vitol has rented the 99,999 dwt, 2003-built Torm Ingeborg to move a cargo of 80,000 tonnes of crude oil from Singapore to South China today, at W160.