Crude tanker rates weaken further, firming seen.
Crude oil freight rates on major routes were mostly down on Thursday as analysts said charterers had begun to exert pressure on shippers to charge less. The world's benchmark Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) export route from the Middle East Gulf to Japan DFRT-ME-JAP fell to W100.63 or $62,765 a day from W112.30 or $75,078 a day last week.
"Charterers appear to be winning the psychological high ground in the VLCC market, and thus, even though we have recently seen more cargoes, rates continue to drop in all loading areas," shipping consultants Astrup Fearnley wrote in a research note.
Brokers said more than 30 fixtures were completed last week, but Atlantic basin shipping rates had not flourished.
"The Atlantic has been another story, however; activity has been virtually nonexistent which has put Suezmax rates under severe downward pressure," broker P.F. Bassoe said in a report.
VLCC rates from the Gulf to the United States DFRT-ME-USG fell to W59.19 from W69.35 last week.
Weather related factors that had bolstered tanker rates and tied up vessels in port delays had begun softening, brokers said, and rates eased back nearly 50 points for Black Sea SuezMaxes.
Exchange figures showed crude oil tanker rates from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean were down at W98.77 from W146.46 last week.
Fearnleys said it had noticed "a slightly firming trend" in Mediterranean and Black Sea rates, which "now appear poised for a turnaround."
Cross Mediterranean tanker rates fell to W99.32 from W102.50 a week ago.
VLCC rates from West Africa to the U.S. Gulf were at W80.96 from W101.35 last week.