Chinese New Year quietens market

Published 01 February 2004

There is a little bit of irony to see that during the same week, when China announced its final figures of GDP for 2003, which finally reached 9.10 per cent, when the latest monthly report from the IISI shows record steel production for the same period, the dry bulk market has been down for the first time for a while. The long festive Chinese New Year celebrations can be considered as the main responsible, and the situation should be back to normal progressively. The Capesize market has been rather slow, while in the Panamax sector some charterers haven’t hesitated to commit themselves for five-year periods at robust rates.
 Freight market Panamax









The Panamax market, and more precisely in the Atlantic, was probably less affected by weaker conditions prevailing for Capes. Fronthaul rates remained in the mid US$40,000/day, such as the ’Happy Clipper’ fixed for a tct delivery Portbury, via Antwerp and redelivery in China at US$46,000/day, but Atlantic r/v were generally softer being fixed below US$40,000. Short periods (5-7 months) were mainly done in the mid-US$40,000, while in a longer commitment a Metrostar newbuilding to be delivered by Tsuneishi was reported taken for five years at US$20,000/day. In between, a 1996-built was reported fixed for two years at US$32,000/day. In the East, rates for Pacific r/v eased a bit and most modern ships were fixed in the very low US$40,000 for such trips. On the voyage market both transatlantic grain rates and trips from the US Gulf to Japan didn’t move much, in the very high US$50.00 for the latest. As usual, activity in the Middle East Gulf/Indian Ocean remains brisk and the level of rates is following accordingly.

Rates for HandyMax and Handysize tonnage were up in the Atlantic for fronthaul trips, with vessels being fixed in excess of US$33,000 for trips to the Far East. Similar numbers are being talked for r/v. Despite holidays in the East, the period market for large/modern tonnage was fairly active with a couple of vessels fixed the mid-US$30,000 for one-year periods, such as the newbuilding ’Pescadores Bulker’, delivery ex-yard Japan at the astonishing rate of US$37,500/day. Obviously this level of rates had never been seen before. Smaller ships were also in demand, with mid-20,000-dwt obtaining above US$20,000 for trips in the Atlantic. In the East rates remained in line with last week, with no significant change up or down for all sizes of ships.

Week ending: 01/02/2004
Source: Barry Rogliano Salles Shipbrokers