Owners wince as suezmax spot rates slip below W90
West Africa suezmax spot rates are on the slide with charterers once again managing to break below the psychological price barrier that owners had been resisting against as vessel availability builds and inquiry dries up.
The market moved in full circle, with owners" resolve shown at the start of the week melting away by Thursday when BP and Heidmar pushed rates down to W87.5.
?Suezmax protagonists in West Africa enjoyed an elongated tussle that began with owners winning some territory, but ended with charterers pulling rates back over the gain line for US Gulf with further damage possible before any rebound can be engineered,? London broker Gibson said.
At the start of last week, charterers had been fixing as high as W97.50, with Total"s shipping arm CSSA taking the 2004-built, 159,073 dwt Astro Polaris at this rate for a trip from West Africa to the UK Continent.
This helped push the Baltic Exchange TD5 route rate, shipping 130,000 tonne cargoes from Nigeria, up to W95, or $22,146 per day. But the rise in rates was cancelled out on Friday when they fell down to W87 or $17,927 per day.
?There"s room for it to fall further and W85 is achievable, but it"s very date sensitive,? said another London broker. ?We keep getting charterers coming back when we"re fixing April 10-12 dates to cover earlier dates. Heidmar broke W90 with a prompt ship, then BP got Lemos to follow suit.
?Some of these ships that will be available in West Africa now for early April loading dates will be thinking that taking W87.5 doesn"t look so bad if they"ve only got to absorb six days of waiting. Let"s say an owner could get W92.5 for April 15-16 dates but they were in West Africa on April 5, then they"d have to absorb 10 days of waiting, which kills earnings anyway.?
Brokers said that owners were hoping for a rise in fixing activity at the start of this week, ahead of Easter weekend across Europe, as charterers attempted to fix cargoes before they got caught short.
Black Sea suezmax rates were also creeping down, as the boom seen in the cross-Mediterranean aframax market wore off last week, leaving larger ships unable to take the place of smaller but more expensive vessels.
The Baltic Exchange Novorossiysk to Augusta route rate dropped to W112 or $29,906 per day on Friday, compared to W119 or $34,000 the week before.