Eastbound VLCC freight that nearly topped W200 in November is now firmly mired beneath W100. "The market's really lost its way, but much of that is just down to sentiment," said one London tanker broker.
Wednesday's fixture lists showed a number of deals hovering around the W100 mark, and even the very modern New Circassia accepted W101 from Stasco for an eastbound trip. Friday's fixture list however, showed the slightly older Musashi Spirit had been fixed at W90 to Japan, while the two-year old Golden Victory had accepted W92.5 for a similar voyage. London's Baltic Exchange closed Thursday night with its assessment of VLCC freight from the Mideast Gulf to Japan down 1.7 points to W91.4. The assessment is 11 points down on that of last Friday.
Brokers said that changes to the Worldscale rate mechanism at the start of 2001 cut the figures by 20 percent across the board, and this accounts for much of the difference between Friday's fixtures and last year's market peak in November.
In November, VLCC freight topped W200 with Pertamina's fixture of the C.Navigator for a 245,500 ton cargo going East at W205, the highest rate for a VLCC since the early seventies.
But brokers pointed out at the time that the deal was a one-off and was about 20 points above the market rate at the time because the cargo was so small. -- (Reuters)