The heat that took the market up a little last week didn’t last long and rates started
to level out or even decline over the last trading days. However the average
daily returns remain very high despite a very limited fixing activity to
report. Capes and especially Panamaxes suffered last week from a lack of
business in both basins while Handysize owners benefited from a quite strong
grain export trend in the Northern Europe / Black Sea areas. In such a
context it has not been a surprise to see the announcement of a batch of
improved half-year results from shipowners in the news, even improving from
the already good money achieved for the year 2003.
The Panamax market was strong at the beginning of the week.
However, over the last few days, the trend has been weaker across the board.
This downturn was somewhat expected as the futures were driving the market
yet again. This is due to a combination of a build up of prompt tonnage in
both basins and a general slowdown in demand combined with the August
holiday period. Short terms sentiment is now very mixed as to how long
this trend will last but the question is definitely not ’’if’’ the market
will go up again but ’’when’’ will the market go up again.
After a brief slow down, the Handymax market turned up again to firm. The
Atlantic showed a quite sustained activity last week and some owners headed
to mid-term coverage by chartering in tonnage at levels in the high US$20’s
guessing on even brighter days. The Pacific is bouncing again with owners
holding strongly to their views, i.e. vessels are remaining open upto the
last minutes unless they obtain their price.
Barry Rogliano Salles, Shipbrokers, Paris