Product tanker earnings continue to outpace that of their crude-carrying counterparts.
The Baltic Clean Tanker Index hit 1,716 points on Friday, jumping 13.4% from 1,513 a week earlier.
The Baltic Dirty Tanker Index finished the week on a high, too, but the improvement was more muted, with a 7% jump from 1,126 points to 1,205 points.
“The BCTI continued its impressive rise in recent months with the index finishing the week just a shade over the 1,700 mark,” the Baltic Exchange said in its weekly note.
“In the Middle East Gulf freight levels earnings have continued to grow as owners are feeling able to push for higher rates on the back of plentiful cargoes. And, with more July stems expected, it seems likely that the numbers seen so far could be pushed even higher.”
The exchange said LR2s were fixed at a time charter equivalent of $55,409 per day out of the Middle East and bound for Japan.
Further, MRs on the Middle East Gulf to East Africa route were assessed to have weakened, but still were fetching $55,569 per day and MRs out of the UK and continental Europe softened as well.
On Friday, Howe Robinson said the east-of-Suez market was buoyed by fixtures early in the week with next week beginning with a “relatively clean sheet”.
Conversely, the broker said the west of Suez market had a strong end to the week, but had low activity and the possibility of competition from vessels ballasting in from other markets and pressuring rates.
The eastern Mediterranean was “stronger and owners’ ideas will be hot again on Monday now, but West Med positions will now look to take the ballast if enquiry doesn’t pick up there”, Howe Robinson said.
For crude tankers, all asset classes saw gains in rates, according to the Baltic Exchange, but suezmaxes stood out in particular.
The second-largest tankers shot up from a time charter equivalent of $6,393 per day on 10 June to $20,783 per day on Friday.
Howe Robinson said a number of fixtures during the week helped push rates up, before stabilising with a slow Friday.
“However, tonnage remains on the tighter side as we look ahead to next week and with higher bunker prices it is difficult to see where a downward shift will come from,” the company said.
VLCCs will also depend on bunker prices, the broker said.
The sector’s time charter equivalent (TCE) rates went from -$34,694 per day to -$28,911 per day on Friday.
“This week for the VLCC market has had a consistent theme — stagnant,” Howe Robinson said.
“There was some life in the Atlantic and rates did rally somewhat mid-week, but as for the [Middle East Gulf] and [West Africa], inquiry levels were minimal and concluded fixtures remained close to last done levels.
“That being said, with an anticipated busy week ahead, and bunker prices still sky-high, expect owners to be fighting for better returns.”
Aframaxes closed the week rising from a TCE of $15,935 per day to $23,784 per day.