Ship prices fell as much as 20 percent in the last few weeks as the Baltic Dry Index, a measure of rates to transport dry-bulk commodities, plunged to a 25-year low, HSBC Holdings Plc said.Three dry-bulk vessels built since 2000 were reported as sold last week, setting benchmarks for lower prices, the bank’s London-based shipping-services division said in an e-mailed report.
“These levels, a drop of 10 percent to 20 percent since the end of last year, may not be good news to owners, but buyers will welcome the correction,” HSBC said. “Now there has been some action, we do expect others to follow suit, especially if more ships come on the market for sale.”
Prices may be set to decline further as potential buyers seek cash to purchase vessels amid constrained bank financing, according to the report. The index on Feb. 3 dropped to 647, the lowest level since August 1986, according to the Baltic Exchange, a London-based assessor of commodity-shipping costs. The gauge last climbed on Dec. 12. (sourced Bloomberg)