Tanker rates to the West firmed as charterers and operators took on board the implications of OPEC's decision to raise oil output
, brokers reported. Rates of W68.5 ($11.50 per ton) for 280,000 tons to Europe
and 255,000 tons to the U.S. Gulf ($11.75) were a Worldscale point or so above last done, brokers said.
But the market appeared to be acting in a schizophrenic manner to the Far East where rates at best held for South Korea at W77.5 (about $7.50 per ton) and one fixture of an older vessel, the New Vitality, was reported at W74.5 ($7.00).
Most brokers said the extra oil promised by OPEC should keep rates at current levels, but some said they expected some seasonal weakening to occur. The until-now strong West African market slackened off toward the end of the week by up to five Wordlscale points to W125 ($11.50 per ton) to the U.S. Gulf for one million barrel Suezmax units.
Thin trading for Aframaxes in the Mediterranean resulted in rates slipping to around W150 ($5.00 per ton) for the 80,000 ton ships, broker E.A Gibson said in a report.
But Suezmaxes strengthened in the area on increased activity out of Ceyhan to about W120 ($4.00 per ton).
The North Sea Aframax market continued to weaken with modern vessels now fixing as low as W125 ($4.50 per ton) and older ships at W112.5 (close to $4.00).
Some of the decline may have been attributable to parceling up into Suezmaxes.
Caribbean trading continued at W210 ($8.50 per ton) for 70,000 tons for the second week running. Fuel oil 50,000 tonrs also remained strong at around W250 ($10.00).