Freight rates bounce back in February

Freight rates bounce back in February
Published: 18 February 2008

The Baltic Dry Index jumped 1000 points last week as confidence returned to the dry bulk market and expectations grew for more iron ore cargos, especially out of Brazil which had seen some supply disruptions in January. Freight rates have now returned to mid-January levels report brokers Barry Rogliano in Paris. Meanwhile, the Panamax market recorded the biggest improvement last week – an increase of over 20% - as disruption continued in the coal markets. Rio Tinto became the fifth Australian coal miner to declare force majeure due to weather-related problems.  Likewise, market confidence has already spread to the futures market and forward rates for the remainder of 2008 were well above spot levels in all sizes last week.

The Panamax market rose sharply in the early/middle part of last week specially in the Pacific as the Far East and in particular the Chinese returned from holiday. Sentiment picked up, prompting both the physical and FFA market to gain value. This was reflected in the Baltic Panamax Index and the average of the four time charters, where it gained 1,409 points and US$11,437 respectively. Sentiment was still positive in the East with round voyages fixed at the end of the week in the mid-US$50,000s for the larger type vessels, though there remained a large spread between spot and short period rates.
After a strong correction during the previous weeks, the Supramax spot market was firm mid-February, with time charter average rates gaining US$6,500 to end the week at US$48,000/day. Ships open in the US Gulf were rated in the low US$70,000s for trips to the Med/Cont, up US$4,570/day from a week earlier. Out of the Continent and Black Sea, tonnage was traded at decent levels: a 45,000dwt went for two laden legs in the mid US$40,000s. The Pacific rates firmed in a sharper manner, to end at US$43,500/day up US$11,027 from the beginning of the week. Supramaxes open North China are asking high US$40,000s.

On the period side, ships are now fixing at US$58,000/day for one year. In the same vein, the Handysize average time charter rates gained US$3,300 to finish the week at US$37,300/ day.

Source: Barry Rogliano salles, Shipbrokers, Paris