With the grain side no longer providing the same number of opportunities, the Panamax market has been a bit weaker this week despite being helped by a still strong mineral activity also sustained by some Cape cargo splits. Starting on a quiet mood the Handy/Handymax market regained some ground by the end of the week in both basins.
In the news, after the arrival of an Indian group at the top of the steel producers ranking, iron and steel industries are under the spotlights. Under the pressure of ore rich Indian provinces, some local policy changes could soon re-orientate raw material supply towards domestic use in India rather than the international market, which could also reinforce the need for other Asian countries to search for supply abroad in Australia, South America or South Africa putting additional pressure on shipping availability
The Panamax market experienced rather slow, but still very firm activity. A big part of this calm is probably due to a Monday off in most of Europe, and the traditional Eisbeinessen in Hamburg which had many people travelling from Wednesday onwards. Nevertheless, the cargo volume in the Atlantic, and to a slightly lesser extent in the Pacific, still keeps the market at overall steady, and high, levels. Timecharter activity seems to have slowed down a bit, and it looks as if the cargo side could take over again, leaving it open in which direction it will tip the market.
After two weeks of slow down, the Handymax index did a small upturn at the end of last week to eventually stabilised at around US$28,600. The Pacific suffered more seriously enabling operators to start again negotiating period deals. In the Atlantic, charterers were reluctant to market new cargoes on spot/prompt basis and preferred whenever possible to cover themselves differently or even to delay a bit their shipments. It seems however that deals for Handymax vessels should come out again soon probably driven by the Capesize sector. Additionally, we are in a period of renewing of contracts where owners are more keen to secure mid-term fixings.
Source: Barry Rogliano Salles, Shipbrokers, Paris