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Dry Bulk Tonnage Pricing: Finding Value in the Market

A lack of correction in terms of the dry bulk market during most of January, has led to asset prices retaining their high values. Contrary to past years, when January usually was a “lackluster” month freight-rate wise, this time around was different. As a result pricing for secondhand tonnage remained rather firm.

In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Intermodal said that “we have just entered February, Chinese New Year holidays are about to start and the SnP market for bulkers is so hot as every seller would dream of. The increased buying interest was evident somehow during September to November of 2020 but that was not a surprise, as it is somehow a seasonal trend for the dry SnP market to be active during q4 of every calendar year. What we have not seen for a long time (maybe since December 2013) was non-stop activity during December and January”.

According to Intermodal’s SnP Broker, Mr. Costas Hardalis, “this is the interesting part now. Over the past 11 years, BDI during every January recorded losses to December of the previous year. On average over the above period, BDI has dropped by -26.0% during January, with Capesize leading the declines. This January was different, with BDI exhibiting a counter-seasonal increase to December (+33.3% m-o-m) for the first time since January 2009, when the index had increased by +21.7% m-o-m. This shift in seasonal dynamics was largely Capesize driven both in 2009 and now, with Cape 5TC in Jan 2021 reaching an all-time high for January and a 7 year high for any Q1 so far”.

Hardalis added that “since the last week of January, BCI has been on a downward trend, with the Cape 5TC recently correcting below Panamax and Supramax, but still at relatively high levels for this time of year. With the BPI and BSI at multi-year high for this time of year at 1689 and 1149 points respectively (as of 8/feb) buyers appetite seems non-stop. Apart from Handysizes 28k to 32k dwt for which asset values increases are relatively lower, all the other sizes are getting significantly higher numbers. The Pana/Kamsarmax SnP market particularly has been very firm. In Sep 2020, Panamax MV ELENA II 06’blt with survey due in Q1,2021 concluded at low $8s million; in November, same age MV APOLO sold for low $9s mil basis survey due 01/2021 and just now the 06’ blt MV AJAX got low $10s mil again with surveys due promptly. We saw similar increases also in 12’ blt units with MV CORAL AMBER 78k dwt BWTS fitted getting mid-high $14s in December and sister ship CORAL AMETHYST without BWTS getting $16/low 16s mil by the end of January. For younger tonnage with electronic engines Japanese built we have not seen much activity, with the last being the sale of the MV SAKIZAYA NOBLE blt 17’ at $25.5m with balance of TC attached but clearly a potential buyer cannot repeat a deal at the same levels. Generally, the supply of such modern ships in the market has been limited for some time amid sellers holding back for much better numbers”.

Source: Intermodal

Intermodal’s broker added that “moving on Capes, one notable sale is the MV Ocean Compass (180k/06’blt Japan), which sold in January 2021 at low 17s million, whereas in September the MV Lowlands Erica (176k/07’blt Japan) was sold for about $15m. As it is today, with the lack of many candidates openly in the market for sale and considering all the buying enquiries coupled with many unsolicited indications in attempt to develop private off-market candidates, we would not rule out further increase on prices if the earnings are maintained at the levels we see today. However, considering that the BCI is trading at $12,000/day currently and Panamax Tess 82 index is trading at $15,000/day, we believe that this can’t be maintained for too long and we hope that the CPI will rise and the long anticipated good market will become reality”, Hardalis concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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