Crude oil tanker rates maintained recent strength as markets continued active ahead of the Christmas break, shipping brokers said on Dec. 23.
"Aframax and Suezmax markets are still bouyant; only VLCCs are still struggling along," one broker said.
Tankers were fixed ahead of the holidays next week which would leave just Wednesday and Thursday for London brokers to trade. Not much activity was expected then.
Continued shortage of tonnage for prompt dates were holding UK-Continent Aframax rates in the region of W150-160 ($5.50-5.85 per ton), slipping from a high of W165 achieved early this week.
Cross Mediterranean voyages for the 80,000 ton vessels could achieve up to W122.5 ($4.20 per ton) while rates from the Mideast to Far East were
about W130 ($13.75).
Caribbean - upcoast U.S. rates for 70,000 ton cargoes were also on the march with reports varying between W145 ($5.85) and W165 ($6.65 per ton).
One million barrel Suezmaxes continued strong in the Atlantic with rates of W110 ($9.65 per ton) and W112.5 ($9.85) reported for West Africa-U.S. journeys and cross Mediterranean levels heading towards W120 ($4.15) as a result of restarted Ceyhan liftings.
VLCCs out of the Middle East continued to hold levels of around W52 ($5.50 per ton) for Japan, W47.5 ($4.50 ) for Korea and W45 ($7.40) for the U.S. Gulf.
Rates were expected to hold up in early January but slip away toward the middle of the month when some brokers forecast a lull after recent demand to stock up on crude supplies. - (Reuters)