Activity on dry bulk markets this week was in line what was expected. Capes
have taken the driving seat and now with few ships remaining open prompt
the market seems to be ready for another rally in case of any stronger
comeback of charterers. Reacting a bit later Panamax tonnage has started to
regain some ground by mid week on the back of an interest towards period
charters in both basins. The Handy market was the only one to stay out of
the game with rates steadily declining over the week, however levels remain
firm and good prospects were already surfacing by the end of the week.
The International Grains Council has estimated a lower level of grain trade
from last year but did not change its previous overall estimate at 204Mt for
the 2004/2005 season. In the news this week there was again growing fear of
a looming coal shortage in China this year, which is now estimated to reach
nearly 100Mt, despite coal mines having increased their production capacity
significantly last year.
The Panamax market retained its positive momentum throughout last week, and
rates climbed slowly but steadily. But the Pacific was generally weaker than
the Atlantic, and both markets were sending mixed signals on the cargo
side. In short : there was no frenzy but a strong period market indicates
that the market is still bullish.
The Handy/Handymax market did not follow the same trend as Panamax and
Capes. Rates in all directions have been slightly decreasing each day of the
week. In the East, the demand was also there for Handies but numerous
Handymax vessels have been delivered in January and simultaneously numerous
operators (mainly Korean) were putting their tonnage on the market to secure
at healthy level balance of period already in their hands leading to a
downward trend with Pacific round voyages at about US$24,000 at the end of
the week for 45,000dwt sizes.
Source: Barry Rogliano Salles, Shipbrokers, Paris