Dry Bulk Market: Capesizes Had a Roller-coaster Week
A roller-coaster week for the big ships with hopes soaring at the start for a mini last quarter revival, only to be dashed as the week closed out. The West Australia/China rates nudging $9.00 by Tuesday having closed out the previous week at near $6.00 and finishing in the mid $7.00 with rumours of a lower price agreed. The Tubarao/China rate whiplashed from $15.00 to $18.00 to $15.00 in a week – and some expecting it to go lower. Vale made a last-minute appearance in the market, fixing at $15.00 for a 15-24 December and reportedly still in the market. Timecharter rates in Asia peaked in the low $20,000s and closed nearer the mid-teens. Added to the gloom came news of a damaged bridge affecting the rail route into Saldanha, with latest reports saying it would not be open until 9 December. The North Atlantic market has seen firmer sentiment, but volume remained thin and rates here drifted lower with timecharter rates fronthaul slipping to nearer the low $20,000s, and Puerto Bolivar/Rotterdam now nearer $7.50. Period reports included an eco-Newcastlemax fixing for about a year in the low $20,000s, with 9-10 December delivery Bayuquan.
Last week ended slowly in the Pacific with sources suggesting the Chinese were awaiting a positive outcome to the US-China trade war at the weekend. Rates definitely stabilized during the week, with various reports of higher fixtures concluded, although many questioned the validity of the stronger rumours as some suggested the rates had been timecharter equivalents of voyage fixtures. Generally, there was plentiful enquiry, but many charterers had been holding back. The Atlantic also proved difficult to read: South American rates remained fairly flat, although the list of ballasters was a cause for concern, whilst the north Continent continued to appear the tightest area for tonnage supply, but without fresh enquiry this too may come under pressure soon.
As the week closed Asia saw improvement, which led to the BSI moving into positive mode. Period talk included a 56,000dwt, fixed delivery Singapore, three to five months trading in the mid $10,000s. There were increased trading from the US Gulf and Ultramax, fixed in the mid $20,000s, for a petcoke run to the Mediterranean. Trading slowed from the Mediterranean and rates eased slightly. Asia activity increased as the week ended with a 55,000dwt, fixed delivery Makassar via Australia, redelivery Singapore-Japan at $10,750. And Indonesia coal business a Supramax, fixed delivery Kalimantan to West Coast India, at $11,000. From the Indian Ocean, levels remained static and a 55,000dwt, agreed $13,500 from Pipavav via Mina Saqr to Bangladesh. And further south a 56,000dwt, fixed delivery South Africa, for a trip to Arabian Gulf/West Coast India at approximately $12,000 plus $200,000 ballast bonus.
There were no significant changes in the Handy market with limited activity reported. The BHSI recorded a further drop on Wednesday to 629, the same number the index achieved two months ago. The market remained slow overall but some brokers saw the rates for handy vessels from the US Gulf picking up, especially for the bigger sizes. Early last week, a 35,000dwt, open north Brazil, was fixed at $14,900 for moving sugar to the western Mediterranean. A 28,000dwtwas booked to ARAG range at $11,500, basis Jamaica delivery. A 31,000dwt agreed $10,000, basis Guayaquil, for a trip via North Coast South America to redeliver in West Africa towards the weekend. From the US Gulf, a 32,000dwt was booked from the Mississippi River, delivery to the Caribbean, with grain at $14,000. In the East, a 28,000dwt open Port Kelang was fixed with an early December date for a run via Malaysia and redelivery southeast Asia at $8,000. A 43,000dwt open, redelivery South Korea, was booked for a trip to CJK with clinker at $7,000.
Source: The Baltic Briefing