The Americas Aframax market has proceeded on a downward spiral since the start of the month, with freight on the most liquid run in the region falling w47.5 since January 31, as a tonnage oversupply continued its dominance of the Atlantic Basin.
S&P Global Platts on Thursday assessed the Caribbean-US Gulf Coast run, basis 70,000 mt, at w95, down w5 from the previous session.
The ongoing decline has been attributed to a glut in not only Aframax position lists, but also to an overflooded system contributed to by other vessel classes, particularly Suezmaxes and Panamaxes in the USGC and Caribbean.
“Don’t know what to make of w100,” a broker had said Wednesday, adding: “Hard time imagining below 100.”
Houston Refining was reported Thursday to have placed the NS Concord on subjects for an East Coast Mexico-USGC trip at w95, loading February 15-17. Platts assessed Caribbean-upcoast and ECMexico-upcoast journeys, basis 70,000 mt, at parity.
“Hopefully this is the bottom,” a shipping source said towards the day’s close, an optimistic tone following the 15th consecutive session of either negative or flat results.
Despite 12 separate Aframaxes being placed on subjects since February 6, it proved insufficient to yet shift the local supply-demand imbalance. With freight looking more favorable in other regions, owners had finally started hinting at ballasting out the weak Americas environment, sources indicated. On Monday, one tanker brokerage report estimated there were 27 Aframax avails in the Gulf Coast and Caribbean within two weeks, four of which were relets. On Thursday, however, the number of available ships had only declined to 24, two of which were relets.
“It’s probably going to come off further,” another source said at the start of the week, when the Caribbean-USGC trip was at w120. “Afras are going to take a dive.”