TANKERS VLCCs are still fixed at W/S 82.5, with destinations West. Valero as well as Ursa have fixed M/T «Golden Fountain» and M/T «World Luck» respectively at the above levels, loading Iraq, discharging Gulf. – A number of VLCC fixtures were agreed also out of W. Africa, with a resulting dramatic drop in Suezmax rates. – Itochu has fixed M/T «Watban» for 260,000 tons of cargo, loading Jan. 31, discharging Far East, at W/S 107.5, while Emerald has fixed M/T «Oly Legend,» loading Jan. 28, discharging US Gulf, at W/S 160. – Sun has fixed M/T «Genmar Spartiate» for 130,000 tons of cargo, loading Feb. 2, discharging USAC, at W/S 220. – Reasonably quiet day for Aframaxes in the N. Sea. Tonnage looks relatively tight for coming weeks, although outstanding inquiry appears thin. Exxonmobil has fixed M/T «Sintra» for 80,000 tons of cargo, loading Jan. 16 UK, discharging UKC, at W/S 230. – Med. steady with cross-Med. fixtures at firmer rates. Saras for 80,000 tons of cargo, loading Jan. 20 Libya, discharging Italy, has fixed M/T «Minerva Libra» at W/S 317.5. – Caribs market also at firmer levels, with Stusco having fixed at tonnage for 70,000 tons of cargo, loading Jan. 20-22, discharging US Gulf, at W/S 392.5. – In W. Africa, Addax has fixed M/T «Front Brabant» for 130,000 tons of cargo, loading Feb. 4, discharging US Gulf, at W/S 260. – In Arabian Gulf, Showa Shell has fixed M/T «Sebu» for 260,000 tons of cargo, loading Jan. 30, discharging Japan, at W/S 90. DRY CARGO Firmer rates on Capers, especially in the Atlantic area. Over USD 90,000 daily has allegedly been agreed for a 171,000-tonner for the run to the East. – Kleimar has fixed M/V «Cape Africa,» 149,533 dwt, built 1991, delivery Spain Jan. 16-17, trip via Colombia & Hadera, redelivery Passero, at USD 78,000 daily. – Increased optimism prevails in the East market, too. Brokers are talking stronger rates for Richards Bay runs. – Panamax rates are firmer in all areas. Freight rates are moving up in the Atlantic, with brokers noting a tight supply of tonnage for January. The strong Capesize market is likely to prompt some charterers to split cargoes into Panamax sizes. – In the East, rates remain firm, hovering around USD 40,000 daily for round voyages. M/V «Alwine Oldendorff,» 66,088 dwt, built 1990, delivery Pakistan Jan. 18-19, trip via India, redelivery China, was fixed at USD 42,000 daily. – On T/C periods, Daeyang has fixed M/V «Iran Mazandaran,» 72,642 dwt, built 2000, delivery Belgium Jan. 8-12 for 5-7 months’ trading at USD 36,800 daily. – Firm conditions for the Handy/Handymax too, with the list of cargoes continuing to grow but only a small number of fixtures having been reported. – On Panamax in the Far East, Bottiglieri has fixed M/V «Global Harmony,» 73,763 dwt, built 1997, delivery Philippines Jan. 9-13, trip via Indonesia, redelivery UKC, at USD 38,000 daily. – In the Atlantic, Hanjin has fixed M/V «Orsolina Bottiglieri,» 75,800 dwt, built 2001, delivery Belgium Feb. 1-5 for 6-8 month period at USD 40,000 daily. – On smaller sizes, IVS has fixed M/V «Marylaki,» 35,676 dwt, built 1983, delivery Jan. 10-18 India, trip via S. Africa, redelivery UKC, at USD 20,500 daily. – On grain cargoes, Harvest States has fixed M/V «Jag Arnav 2» for 55,000 tons of cargo, loading US Gulf end Jan., discharging China, at USD 53.25 per ton with 10,000-ton load and 5,000 tons discharge.