Tuesday, 08 March 2011
Underlining the unpredictability of the current market, rates for all dry bulk segments swung up again last week. Stronger exports out of South America lifted the smaller sizes, while better transatlantic demand pushed Cape rates up.
In the iron ore segment, a short-term surge in demand seems possible after India imposed new export taxes on the commodity. The Federation of Indian Mineral Industries said it expected ore exports to fall between 30-35% a year as a result. Nearly all of India’s iron ore shipments are destined for China, and it is expected there could be a rush of Chinese buying before the tax is imposed on April 1. So far, existing contracts out of India are being honoured, but with next to no fresh contracts being signed, the impact of the change is likely to be more obvious next month.
The Supramax market continued its upward trend from the previous week, and the BSI gained 6% to reach a TC average of US$15,340 by Friday. The increase was much stronger in the Pacific basin than in the Atlantic, and the NOPAC round gained 13% to reach about US$15,500 by the end of the week. Despite better market conditions in the Pacific, owners with Supras in the Atlantic were reluctant to fix them for a trip out. The market in the Continent was strong thanks to scrap and fertilizer orders, Supras getting about US$20,000 for a trip with scrap from Cont/Baltic with redelivery east Med, and the same level was fixed for dop Continent and redelivery China via the Cape of Good Hope. The US Gulf market remained stable with Supras getting fixed at US$24,000 basis dop USG and redelivery Skaw/Passero range, whereas USG to the East was fixed in the low US$30,000s per day. The Pacific market started strong, with index type Supras getting mid teens for Pacific rounds, while India positioned ships were fixing at similar levels out of the west coast, and mid/high teens out of the east. Rates steadily picked up towards the end of the week (due to tonnage getting tight for mid March dates), while a flurry of fixing resulted in ships in the Far East getting closer to high teens for Pacific rounds. West coast India to China was fixing in the mid/ high teens, and east coast India remained at similar levels. Backhaul on Supras climbed to close to US$10,000, up from around US$7-8,000. Short period was around mid to mid/high teens, depending on specs and position, and this remained steady all week.
The Panamax market this week firmed up in all basins, with a week-on-week increase of over US$1,000 in the Atlantic to reach US$16,000 per day, and more than US$1,500 in the Pacific, to close at US$14,800 per day, pushing the 4TC average to US$16,000 per day. These trends were against a pretty high global offering of tonnage (especially in the Atlantic), except in the Indian Ocean which was clearly under pressure due to a lack of candidates able to carry iron ore to China, or to ballast to pick up grains for China via ECSA. This route was paying around US$19,000 per day for delivery India. Period activity, linked to the firmer FFA market, increased by US$1,000 per day ie around US$18,000 per day on a TESS 74 delivery Far East for short period.
An 8% increase in the BCI this week, with greater activity in the Atlantic pushing rates. The BCI finished on Friday at 1,427 points, while the time charter average limped above US$5,700 per day. The prospects of more activity out of Australia gave some small confidence to the market, and April and May FFA rates rose to US$14,500 and US$16,400 respectively. Monday saw another US1,000 added to the 4TC, which suggests greater confidence for the week ahead, though which the current volatility there seems to be no certainty it will last.
Reported by - Barry Rogliano Salles