In a quieter market linked to the absence of a lot of Asian players, all dry bulk markets remained firm. It is significant to see that even in these conditions, the Cape market did not plunge and even gained a few dollars by the end of the week helped by some more activity in the Atlantic. This still does not prove that the market will rocket during the winter but everyone starts to think that is could be wise to consolidate it’s present position rather than playing the spot. The same can be said for Panamax and Handymax tonnage for which ship’s availability remains tight with obviously a lot of business concluded off records. For the second time this year Japanese steel-makers have negotiated rises between 5 to 20% in the price of steel plates this week with car-makers and shipbuilders, which could give the latter some more arguments to push up newbuilding prices again.
The Panamax market played a quieter tune last week, especially in the Pacific. While some owners were caught with a spot ship during the Far East holidays, the market has definitely not lost its substance and owners generally seem to be willing and able, at least for the time being, to hold out until the market comes back up again. The average t/c rate a LME can fetch is still at US$32,600, which by the way is US$2,500 more than one month ago! Owners still can hope to fetch in excess of US$35,000 for fronthaul.
The International Grain Council has just released its latest market report revealing that the overall forecasts for grain trade are lower than last year despite China’s increased needs. Trade in wheat will remain stable at 101m tons while trade in maize is expected to be 3 mt lower at 77 mt due to better crops in Europe and reduction in their import needs.
Although a bit weaker at the beginning of the week in the Atlantic, the trend for Handies/Handymaxes stayed firm through the week. 37,000 dwt Brazil to Continent are now being fixed at US$20/21,000 plus US$200,000 bb. In the Pacific a little slowdown has been felt at the end of the week but happening after a 45,000 dwt reached US$29,000 for Pacific round voyage and a 53,000 dwt grabber fixed over US$32,000 for a short period. A lot of interest for periods all sizes even older units and charterers ready to fix 2 years and more to avoid to pay the full rate required by owners for 2004/2005. However for such long period large gap still prevailing between owners and charterers ideas.
Source: Barry Rogliano and Salles, shipbrokers, Paris