Tanker Rates Near Bottom

Wednesday, December 20, 2000
Tanker rates in the Caribbean have been free-falling all week, but the bottom is looming closer, brokers say. "They're about W307 today, but they're starting to firm up" said a U.S. broker. At the end of last week, Exxon fixed the Amazon Eagle for a Gulf-bound 70,000 ton cargo from the Caribbean at W400. But Wednesday fixture-lists show Exxon fixing the same sized tankers for the same route at W307. "At the start of the week Exxon quoted one cargo and got 11 offers, so they brought the market back down to W332.5. They ended up fixing four ships at that rate," said the broker. Shortly thereafter another ship was fixed at W325, said the broker and then Fina fixed the Clyde Spirit at W317. The most recent fixture on the route, which was by Exxon at W307, is not truly representative however, as it was an OBO - a type of ship that typically trades at a small discount to other tankers. On the other side of the Atlantic, similar sized ships were moving swiftly ahead, having gained 20 points yesterday on the strength of new stems.

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