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Dry Bulk Market Shows Signs Of Recovery, But Dry Bulk Ships’ Sales Are Already Down 33% This Year

The dry bulk market’s recent recovery has been a sign of hope for many ship owners who had been looking for some sign of improvement in order to rule out the scenario of a more serious crisis looming, not only for shipping, but for the world trade in general.

In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Intermodal said that “market experts mostly agree that the recent dry bulk market downtrend was caused by seasonal slowdown amid the Chinese New Year celebrations in combination with the deadly dam accident in Brazil earlier this year. The latter is a serious disruption that has already had an immediate negative impact on Capesize earnings. Brazil is the world’s second largest iron ore producer country after Australia, with approx. 70% of exports going to East Asia, and most iron ore consists of the highest quality found worldwide that does not require much processing. In addition, other production sites in Brazil are now in the public eye and currently under scrutiny when it comes down to their procedures, safety protocols and infrastructure and might not be able to increase production as desired. Hence, the imminent decrease of Brazil’s output will definitely reduce ton-mile revenue for Capes. The question now is if China is able to, and if they will respond with an increase of their domestic production from their high-cost mines, which will furthermore keep Cape revenues from rebounding to previous higher observed levels”.

According to Intermodal’s SnP broker, Mr. Ilias M. Lalaounis, “besides the Capesize segment, the sudden drop and the swift reversal of sentiment was observed across all major trading routes and all ship sizes. This could be due to the turbulence deriving from the US-China trade war. While many reports/forecasts have been published and a lot of opinions have been heard, the only sure thing is that it adds uncertainty to the an already worrying global economy and a puzzled (amid coming regulations) shipping ecosystem. In the beginning, when the second worldwide largest economy showed signals of slowing down and seemed unable to maintain growth figures, analysts were pointing to the trade war. Recently though, many are wondering if a Chinese structural and fundamental problem will soon surface. In my point of view, if such problem does exist, the shipping world should focus on how the Chinese administration would tackle it. The country’s administration is currently signaling potential further stimulus measures and several are debating if such a program will have a positive impact on seaborne trade and to what degree”.

Intermodal’s broker added that “the very slow fresh cargo supply of the past couple of months resulted in a slowdown of SnP activity, which is down 33% ytd. However, from the start of last week a more normal flow of cargo is observed and the BDI showed signs of recovering. At the same time, comparing past week’s SnP market to the start of this month we noted fresh prospective buyers coming on-board ships, while proven buyers took the opportunity to test sellers with levels depicting current market conditions and establishing new market levels”.

“Whilst some owners worry that we are entering a global bear market and are skeptical if this downturn was an indicator of a more structural issue, the BDI is now on a positive trend and others believe that we are heading towards more stable days having just experienced a short parenthesis in a market that is generally moving towards a healthy recovery and in that respect they maintain their bullish views and appetite for candidates offered at levels in line with current freight rates”, Lalaounis concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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