Markets still lack direction

Markets still lack direction
Published: 17 November 2005

Despite some improvement on the Capesize front the dry bulk market is still lacking direction particularly if we compare it to last year during the same period when rates were rocketing towards unprecedented levels. No clear direction either arising from the news this week either, except the follow up of the huge restructuring of Chinese coal mines, which will lead to the shut down of at least 4000 production units before the end of this year. So far 12,148 coal mines have been ordered to halt production and among them 30 percent of them have passed inspection and 70 percent of them failed. 1870 mines have been closed. This is confirming last week statements about the growth potential of Chinese coal imports at least for a transitional period of time.

While Cape routes have moved together, Panamax Atlantic and Pacific are set on a different mode. Transatlantic r/v firmed, while fronthaul remained unchanged. Pacific r/v and backhaul slightly decreased and Pacific r/v and Transatlantic r/v ended at US$6000 and US$21,000 respectively. Far East/Continent was valued at US$14,000 and Continent/Far East was seen at US$ 26,000. Pacific is said to have the greatest room for improvement. The market remains uneasy to predict with charterers still shy to break the 20’s level for 1 year periods.

The sensible decline of the Handymax index is actually reflecting the relative poor activity that has been seen in the market over the last two weeks. The uncertainties regarding a possible recovery from India are not driving operators to confidence when Supramaxes are now fixed quite steadily around US$14,500 for trips to China. In this context, it can be surprising, however, to notice reported fixtures of over US$17,500 of Tess 45 for 3/5 months period and over US$16,000 for 11/13 months. The general feeling of Owners sounds still quite positive for the coming 6/8 months but principals taking a positive step forward for this period are surprisingly quite seldom. On shorter terms, the Atlantic looks much stronger and less erratic with a quite well balanced supply and demand. Some owners, however, are now anticipating a possible recovery in the Pacific (or a break in the Atlantic) by giving a real interest to forward Eastbound cargoes.
Source: Barry Rogliano Salles, Shipbrokers, Paris