The dry bulk market’s seems to be losing some steam, despite reports of growing Chinese demand for commodities, especially coal, on the back of growing power shortages. Yesterday, the BDI (Baltic Dry Index) managed to edge a bit higher by 0.27% to 1,489, with the Capesize market being the only one able to post daily gains. The Capesize Index was 1.15% higher to 1,934 points, but the Panamax segment was lower by 0.77%.
In a relative weekly report, Fearnley’s said that last week´s enthusiasm in the Capesize market has continued into this week, and the results are apparent in the rates owners are achieving. “West Australia up from usd 7.35 pmt to usd 7.75 pmt. And the strength in the Atlantic continued, with fixtures done this week at USD 13k p/d for round voyages, up from USD 12k. The transatlantic market has helped the Brazil /China trade, which has struggled to move upwards due to too many committed ballasters, and rates are now at usd 20.50 pmt, up from usd 19.75 pmt on Friday, as vessels open in the Atlantic are preferring to fix better numbers on the Atlantic RV route. On the period front there has been a few fixtures concluded for shorter period at healthier numbers such as USD 11250 for 4-6 months on a 178k dwt modern unit” said the shipbroker.
Regarding the Panamax market, Fearnley’s said that “after last week’s rush to cover prompt cargoes on the remaining spot ships with increasing rates, the market took a breather this week. The activity has been slower, and the curves have been pointing downwards in both hemispheres. Ascension day in several European countries on Thursday will probably not help on the activity, but mid week we see signs of more cargoes entering the market for mid/second half June. This will most likely affect owners´ rates, and push the market a bit up again in the Atlantic. Today the Tarv´s getting fixed in the region of 15,500 while fronthauls are being fixed in the low 20´s. In the Pacific the rounds are being fixed ard 13k while the backhauls are fetching around 6k. The period market has been somewhat more active this week with short periods being fixed with Feast delivery at ard USD 15,500” said the report.
Finally, the Handy/Supra market has in general been flat and un-exciting this week. “The Black Sea market is almost non existing while the US Gulf market is more active with grain and petcoke cargoes. Tarv´s are fecthing ard Usd 15, 500 while the South Atlantic is holding stable with rates hovering ard mid 20 ´s for trips back to the Feast. The Pacific market remains quiet. For Indo-India, Supras in North China are getting close to 11k. Nickel-ore rounds are getting firm rates in mid-high teens from Indonesia. WCI-China rates slided to 13k and from ECI around 12k. Red Sea, ferts on handymax/Supras are fixed at very mid 20´s pmt on voyage basis to WC India. Large Supras for RBCT/India round are now asking 14k. Short period deals done at 14-15k for large Supras” concluded the shipbroker’s report.
In a separate note, Commodore Research & Consultancy discussed the current power shortage issues that China faces and the fact that the government is now actively focusing more on constructing bases along the Yangtze River, Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, and the coast.
“The Yangtze River, China's largest river, flows west-to-east from Qinghai province (located in western China) to Shanghai; the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal stretches north-to-south from Beijing to the city of Hangzhou (located in Zhejiang province). Of strategic importance will be the city of Zhenjiang (located in Jiangsu province; please note the city of Zhenjiang is spelled similarly to Zhejiang province but the two are entirely unrelated).
The city of Zhenjiang will hold great strategic importance as a coal base because it is located on both the Yangtze River and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Additional coal bases will be set up along the river, canal, and China’s east coast. While there is no firm date for operation or exact estimate as to how much coal Zhenjiang and other coal bases will hold, early reports suggest that bases on the Yangtze River, the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, and the coast will hold as much as a total of 200 million tons of coal. We stress that plans have just been initiated, however, and it will be years before the bases are set up. In related news, the government recently announced that the Yangtze River will be further dredged to allow vessels with a carrying-capacity of up to 50,000 tons to be able to travel from Shanghai all the way to Nanjing (located in Jiangsu province) by 2015. We expect that the coal bases will be operational around this time as well.
China consumes roughly 3.5 billion tons of coal per year, however, so we stress that more than anything, these coal bases will eventually be used to ease inland transportation constraints when problems arise from transporting domestic coal from the western and central part of the country to end-users on the east coast Coal imports should be viewed in a similar fashion, as they make up only a fraction of the total amount of coal consumed in China every year. Surges in imports normally occur when demand is strong, port stockpiles are low, and when inland coal transportation constraints occur” concluded Commodore.
Source: Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping (sourced coalspot)
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