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Dry bulk market’s downfall knows no limits

Thursday, 26 January 2012 | 00:00
The dry bulk market’s demise seems to have no visible end, as China’s Lunar Year Holidays continue this week, thus leaving demand with nothing to compensate for the huge oversupply of vessels. As a result, the BDI (Baltic Dry Index), the industry’s benchmark has kept on falling, as has been the case throughout the month. Yesterday, it ended down by 2.85% to just 784 points and dangerously close to the lows of 2008, when the shipping market had plunged to a halt, as a result of the global financial crisis. All major indices were down yesterday once again, with Capesizes losing 0.99% to 1,497 points, while Panamaxes were hit hard, falling by 3.91% to just 909 points. Similarly, Supramaxes fell by 2.45%, while Handies were also down to just 444 points, down by another 2.2% on the day.
According to the latest weekly report from shipbroker Fearnleys, commenting on the Capesize market it said that “as expected it has been a quiet week with few fixtures and more ships drifting and at anchorage. For the west Australia/China trade, the big three have been absent, only a handful of fixtures around USD 7.60 7.75 range. Tubarao/Qingdao is more or less dead whilst there are talks about some really horrible fixtures for the backhaul trade. However the details are being kept private, which is not a big surprise. Owners are expecting more activity from after Chinese New Year, but time being one need to use the imagination in order to see the signs of this happening” said the shipbroker.
In a separate note, Shiptrade Services mentioned that “Capes had another terrible week since the lack of cargoes, over supply of tonnage and the bad weather conditions did not improve since last week. Also, Chinese holiday contributed even more to rates down fall and put every hope of improvement in halt. The average of the four T/C Routes decreased closing the week at USD 6,700 and the BDI fell down by 169 points. Fronthaul trips were done at USD 21,000 compared to the USD 28.500 last week. Charterers at Far East moved for period tonnage at USD 12,500 levels for 4/6 months and USD 13,000 for 11/13 months”.

On the Panamax front, Fearnleys said that “the market is falling further in both hemispheres for simple reasons - lack of cargoes and a growing list of open positions. With the Chinese celebrating the entry of Year-of-the-dragon and Singapore away most of the week, the market is suffering from low activity and lack of any fresh stimuli. In the Atlantic rates varies from still healthy 10k on T/C to far less on voyage. Fronthaul also sliding with rates reported at 19k+300 GBB for USG-China. In the Pacific the effect of the holidays and lack of cargoes is even more apparent. NOPAC rates at 7k+300 GBB hardly achievable any longer. Mixed expectations for the activity and a possible market upturn among the market players when the Holidays are over in the Far East. However, a coming grain season in ECSA and more mineral activity from Brazil may turn the tide suddenly” said Fearlneys.
Similarly, Shiptrade noted that “in the Atlantic Basin lack of cargoes in the Continent led the vessels ballast towards USG. In combination with the Chinese holidays which made things even harder as Chinese receivers were not there to conclude the deals. A few iron ore requirements fm USG and some Petcoke cargoes were not enough to replace the lack of requirements in the Continent hence physical market dropped heavily
In the Pacific the market was extremely quiet as all the cargoes sold to China were fixed prior holiday and only a few nickel ore and coal orders ex SE Asia to India were fixable.
The period rates in the Far East were around 8000 for 3/5 months” said Shiptrade.
Finally, on the Handy market, Fearnleys concluded that “the market took yet another dive this week after a dull start to 2012. The activity has decreased considerably with Chinese New Year upon us, and also holidays in Singapore. We do see some more activity mid week with new cargos entering the market, but the amount of open tonnage out numbers the available cargos. The Skaw/USG route is now trading at a tick below USD 4k, while the USG/Skaw is still fixing at a healthier USD 13k daily. The fronthaul candidates are fetching around USD 18,500. The Pacific market dives deep due to ongoing Chinese New Year holidays and fresh
supply of tonnages and less cargoes. Indo- India fixed at around USD 6k dop south China and nickel ore cargoes also very less to support the market. Iron ore from India is dead and rates remain at USD 8k from WCI and USD 7k from ECI. RBCT rounds are fixed on APS basis at USD 10k + 300k BB. Red Sea fertiliser cargoes fixed at low 20s to India. Short period activity very less and rates around USD 7500” said Fearnleys.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide
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