The wait and see feeling which was widely shared last week doesn’t seem to be charterers’ view any longer. The volume of business this week has been firmer on almost all segments of the dry bulk markets. Capes reacted first in an already tight market and rates recorded some sharp increases especially in the Pacific where r/v are now heading towards the $75,000 per day figure. Panamax rates have also been dragged by a rather strong fixing activity in both basins. Even Handysize/max rates free fall has finally been stopped at the end of the week. This rather unexpected situation shows everybody that there is still some room for a market rebound even when China is theoretically on holidays and proves again that things are getting increasingly unpredictable.
Panamax rates last week followed the upward trend of the Capes, although the rise was rather slow. Surprisingly, the rates moved up more in the Pacific than in the Atlantic, and this in spite of the Chinese and Korean holidays. So last year’s experience is repeated, when we already saw that even an important holiday is not enough to paralyze the market in this part of the world. Actually, it seems that many players used the seemingly quiet period to fix ships and cargoes off market. Time-charter activity seemed to have slowed but maintained its levels.
After a few weeks of slow down and despite the Holidays in the Far East, the Handymax market went up at the end of the week. Several cargoes were still being quoted from South America and the US Gulf. So far the Chinese buyers did not purchase much of the record high Brazilian and Argentinean soya crop. But most owners are convinced that the ECSA market should peak up sharply. Consequently, the hunt is opened to positioning cargoes. The underlying sentiment is still firm and the period activity remains at high levels.
Source: Barry Rogliano Salles, Shipbrokers, Paris