The lack of business that started to weigh down the Cape market last week has kept on bearing on the figures this week. However the last two trading days have seen some fixtures and stems coming to surface, allowing rates to stop their free fall. The sustained activity we saw last week on the Panamax market did not repeat, particularly in the East where rates plunged even deeper. This gloomy picture is in sharp contrast with what the Handymax market recorded in both basins, as the steady flow of business is tightening the market and putting some upward pressure on rates.
The highs and lows of dry bulk markets are also driven by the "hot and cold" news coming from China, one day talking about currency revaluation, saying they will more drastically control iron ore imports, giving pessimistic figures about their industrial output, and the other one, restricting the possibility of their currency to float, delaying their iron ore import licence system, saying the country’s economy will continue to grow rapidly during the next five to ten years… Is it a game? Certainly not, but the country and the world economy are moving in such a strange period that every signal even contradictory is to be taken into consideration.
Two completely different situations between the Atlantic and Pacific Panamax markets. Spot prompt positions were tight in the Atlantic with some owners obtaining upto US$50,000 for trips to the Far East and US$43/45,000 for Transatlantic business. The Pacific continued to fall due to sustained over supply of tonnage but there seemed to be a bit more demand towards the end of the week, which slowed the downward trend. Short period activity was more apparent in the Atlantic with vessels obtaining US$43/44,000 whereas in the Pacific rates for 4/6 months were hovering around US$37/38,000. With the Easter week approaching, there is a general feeling that fixing activity should fall off but mixed opinion as to whether rates will follow.
The Handymax market remained extremely firm all last week, showing a real contrast with Panamax and Cape markets, with a fairly balanced activity between Atlantic and Pacific. Handymax t/c trips US Gulf to Continent as well as India to China are fixed in region of low US$40’s when short periods in both basins are still being fixed in the region of low US$30’s for 45,000 dwt up to US$35,000 for larger units. The Black Sea to the Far East t/c rates are now close to US$36,000 for 45,000 dwt. The Handysize market is also firm with modern units being fixed in the region of low/mid US$20’s in the Far East.
Source: Barry Rogliano Salles, Shipbrokers, Paris