No real direction in the markets

No real direction in the markets
Published: 21 December 2010

With the holiday season almost among us, recent trends point to a lethargy in most markets with no real direction visible from the main indices. True, the Baltic Capesize sectors have seen a small improvement in December due to a surge in demand from the big Pacific miners, but by and large the overall Baltic Dry Index remains stuck at around the 2000-2200 range.

In fact, the Panamax market has experienced a softer tendency in mid-December with rates sliding in the Pacific basin. As brokers at Barry Rogliano report: “The Panamax 4TC average lost US$2314 this week and closed on Friday at around US$16,000 per day. Rates seemed to be under pressure mainly in the east where owners began revealing their tonnage in order to find employment over the festive period. Too few fresh cargoes here saw rates drop over US$3000 during the course of the week.”

Short period activity has also been scarce but a few fixtures indicated that short period levels were close to US$17,000 whilst a number of vessels were taken for a period of around two years at US$18,000 daily. Present indicators already see a good number of ballasters committed for similar work patterns putting pressure on January markets.

The Baltic Supramax Index went down by 57 points to finish at 1613 points by 18th December, while the average of the time charter routes lost about US$600 daily to finish at US$16,800 per day. The market was active in the Atlantic but many vessels were turning spot towards the week creating some downward pressure in all basins, mainly in the Black Sea and ECSA. Some support was maintained though as activity continued on sugar and grain due to requirements out of ECSA – reports Rogliano.

Activity remained pretty firm in the USG/USEC region, the main commodities being grain, scrap and petcoke, trading mainly back to the Continent/Med range. On the smaller sizes, the Baltic Handysize index was steady, only gaining 9 points over the  week to 18th December with the time charter routes making small gains to reach US$12,300 daily. The TARV was worth US$13,500 per day, whereas the Pacific round voyage traded close to US$11,000 daily.

On the period front, a 58,000dwt newbuilding fixed ex-yard China for one year trading redelivery worldwide at a rate close to US$16,500 daily. Short period was getting fixed at US$16,000 daily for delivery Far East and redelivery worldwide. For the smaller sizes, Handysize are getting for short period basis delivery Far East numbers in the US$12,000 per day region.

As Fearnleys brokers conclude: The problem is that a large amount of tonnage is pouring into the Atlantic (ballasters from India etc.) and this should excert downward pressure on rates. Outlook: Flat. Whereas very healthy tonnage supply in the East means charterers are sitting back and waiting for the best rates, both on Handies and a large amount of Supramaxes opening up in North China – not altogether good news for owners.