When will it all end?

When will it all end?
Published: 15 October 2007

There was only one game in town last week: the incredible leap in the Baltic Dry Index. For the first time in its twenty-two year history the BDI breached the 10,000 mark, propelled by runaway rates in both the Capesize and Panamax sectors. It is easy to forget that just 12 months ago this figure seemed unimaginable. Then, the BDI languished at a mere 4126. Indeed, the incredible boom has now pushed the value of the biggest US-listed drybulk company, DryShips, beyond that of the largest public tanker outfit, Teekay Shipping. The million-dollar question now, of course, is how long can demand prop up these kinds of rates? So far iron ore forecasts continue to be encouraging with predictions of a 250Mt increase in demand between 2007 and 2009. The large mining groups, too, continue to unveil huge new investment programmes. But will this be enough to keep shipping steady?
Despite the huge appetite for raw materials, vessel congestion remains a wild card. With some experts attributing around a third of the current cargo Œdemand¹ to congestion, improvements here could still have a very serious impact on drybulk rates indeed.

The Baltic Panamax Index went up by 1,278 points finishing at 10,913 and breaking the 10,000 mark last week. The 4 t/c’s average gained US$10,390/day and is getting closer to the US$90,000/day level. Both the Atlantic and the Pacific basins were extremely active where firm Panamax requirements/cargoes, cape splits (in the Atlantic mainly) and period activity have lead the market to explode. Feeling for upward trend has been also sustained by activity on the paper/future side. LME delivery pacific is now trading close to US$80000/ day for 1 year t/c, 2 years trades in the mid 60’s and 3 years t/c for an LME has been reported in the mid 50’s.

The Handy market continues its upward trend, leaving everyone almost speechless. In the East, demand remains strong on the back of ever-increasing imports of raw materials to India and China. Supramax owners are now asking for low-80,000s for trips to India. Pacific rounds are getting fixed in the mid 70’s, while period fixtures for 10-12 months have reached nearly US$70,000. West Coast India/China is pulled by the iron ore with a 50,000 dwt getting US $69,000 dop Karachi. Meanwhile a modern Handy went for US$42,000 for 1 year. The West is under pressure as well.

Source: Barry Rogliano Salles, Shipbrokers, Paris