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No positive indicators foreseen

No positive indicators foreseen
Freight rates for VLCC spot markets across the globe have mostly fallen further, with no positive indicators on the horizon.

Freight rates for VLCC spot markets across the globe have mostly fallen further, with no positive indicators on the horizon.

Freight rates for VLCC spot markets across the globe have mostly fallen further, with no positive indicators on the horizon.

Charterers have been feeding their requirements to the markets in 'slow-release mode' and there is more than enough tonnage availability currently.

?Just when you thought the VLCC market could not get any quieter, it just did,? said Bassøe last Friday.

?Rates have weakened further, with the benchmark MEG-East route threatening to break the WS 30 mark, which would be the first time since 2002 if it happens.?

Brokers are now reporting double hull fixtures east of the MEG in the very low WS 30's and low WS 20's for MEG-West voyages, while the benchmark Bonny-LOOP route for the West African market weakened to around WS 45.

A few players told they are expecting some MEG-East routes to be fixed below WS 30 this week.

They were all in agreement that vessel over-supply was building up on the 'twin effects' of OPEC export reductions and declining demand, with no real positive factor in sight to 'mop up' the excess tonnage.

The total number of cargoes lifted in the MEG declined by 20% in March compared with January.

?There is no bottom in sight for VLCC spot rates currently and many owners are not breaking even,? a Singapore-based broker told.

?OPEC is supposedly trying its best to cut 4.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from the market. Full compliance is equivalent to at least two VLCCs out of a job every day."

The benchmark MEG-Korea route was already doing a seven-year low of WS 35 in the previous week, but is currently being fixed around WS 30, or earnings of about $18,000 per vessel per day at present.

The benchmark MEG-UKC route for MEG-West voyages stayed flat at the previous week's record low of WS 22.5, or earnings of about $10,000 per vessel per day currently.

The average earning is below 25,000 per day

The average cash break-even earnings for the VLCC spot market is below $25,000 per day per vessel, but break-even rates are calculated differently across the industry, with some companies like Frontline Ltd. reporting its break-even rate as high as $34,700 per VLCC.

Owners' earnings have in the past two weeks also taken further beatings at the hands of rising bunker prices.

Bunker prices, which have been sliding for the most part since the global economic meltdown took crude prices down along with it, have been providing some relief for owners amid slumping freight rates up till recently.

Major Americas ports saw double-digit price increases last Friday, building on firm movement from the day before.

Among some of the region's bunkering hubs, Los Angeles posted the biggest price gains on the day with 380 centistoke (cst) soaring $26.50 to average just over $260 per metric tonne (pmt).

In Europe, bunker prices ended last week at their highest levels so far this year as a crude oil rally pushed markets up.

Prices for 380 cst high sulphur bunker fuel in Rotterdam gained $9.50 to average $278 pmt last Friday, a 2009 high. The grade had hit its highest level since the end of October 2008 last Thursday.

In Asia, bunker fuel prices in Singapore and Hong Kong posted double digit gains last Friday while prices in other key Asian ports also firmed.

Bunker prices made their biggest gains in Hong Kong, with the 380 cst fuel grade surging $17 from the previous day's level to a five-month high of $300.50 pmt.

In Singapore, the price of 380 cst material jumped $13.50 to a near three-month high of $287.50 pmt last Friday.

www.TurkishMaritime.com.tr

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