Large Tanker Fixing Slows, Rates Soften

Friday, October 15, 1999
Large tanker fixing out of the key Middle East market slowed last week as charterers had largely covered their October liftings, resulting in the softening of rates by about two and a half Worldscale points, brokers said last week. VLCCs to Japan commanded between W51 and W52.5, down from the mid W50s the previous week, while Korea was slipping to W50 by the end of the week. Westbound to the U.S. Gulf maintained W47.5, and one Continent fixture reached W50. Despite the quiet conditions, Galbraith's said in its weekly report that it did not expect rates to fall much further for modern vessels. But older ships would find lengthening waiting times eroding incomes, the broker said. Owners should be able to maintain rates or achieve some improvements over the next month as only 60 vessels of 17.5 million tons would be available in the Mideast over the next month, broker E.A. Gibson said in its weekly market report. But the market would remain quiet until November cargoes started becoming available in about a week's time, another broker said.

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