The capesize market started the week with a cautiously optimistic tone despite sluggish overall activity. Weather disruptions in China and a gradual start in the Atlantic were notable factors. By midweek there was a significant boost to market sentiment, with the BCI 5TC seeing a substantial increase, driven by active engagement from all three miners in the Pacific and robust cargo lists. Further in some owners secured cover ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays, leading to a decline in C5 rates. As the week draws to a close there was a mixed picture, with the Pacific market experiencing pressure on rates initially, followed by a correction, while activity remained robust from South Brazil and West Africa, tightening the market slightly, specifically for end February/early March loaders from South Brazil and West Africa. Overall, the week was influenced by Lunar New Year holiday preparations and regional demand dynamics.
A captivating week for the Panamax market with various peaks and troughs seen across the market. Despite a muted start the Atlantic sprung into life, however very mixed views on where true market value was on some of the routes. Primarily good grain fronthaul demand was said to be lending support on trans-Atlantic rates as demand ate into the tonnage count. EC South America returned an active week, the deferred dates for March appeared firmer priced in comparison to the end February arrivals with several deals fixed around the $17,000 + $700,000 mark delivery Aps load port. Asia returned a mixed week too as we head into Lunar New Year holidays. The Nopac rounds were seen concluding around the $10,500 mark for 82,000-dwt types whilst LME tonnage regularly achieved $10,000 levels for trips via Indonesia to China. Period activity remained prevalent too, with $17,000 concluded on a new build 82,000-dwt delivery ex yard China basis one year.
Another rather positional week overall for the sector, with the Year of the Dragon approaching levels of fresh enquiry in Asia were limited certainly in the Southeast. From the Atlantic, a limited supply of fresh tonnage in the US Gulf saw rates push up, whilst the South Atlantic was described as finely balanced although there were some stronger numbers seen for fronthaul business. Period cover was actively short, a 63,500-dwt open US Gulf fixing 12 months trading with redelivery Singapore-Japan at $19,500 and another 63,500-dwt open India fixed similar duration redelivery worldwide at $17,000. From the Atlantic, an ultramax was fixed from New Orleans to Singapore-Japan at $31,000. Further south, a 63,000-dwt fixed delivery Santos redelivery SE Asia at $18,000 plus $800,000 ballast bonus. In Asia limited action although a 63,000-dwt open CJK fixed a NoPac round at $12,000. Stronger numbers were seen again from the Indian Ocean. A 63,000-dwt fixed delivery Port Elizabeth for mid-February to the Far East at $25,000 plus $250,000 ballast bonus.
General negativity continued across the handy sector, on the Continent, premiums remained for specialist vessels with a 38,000-dwt log-fitted vessel fixing basis passing Skaw via Riga to Baltimore with a cargo of sawn lumber at $14,750 whilst a standard 38,000-dwt fixed from Hamburg to EC South America in the low $10,000’s with a cargo of fertilizer. Limited cargo availability was still an issue for prompt vessels in the US Gulf with a 32,000-dwt fixing from SW Pass to Ireland with grains at $9,000. The South Atlantic showed some resistance for later dates, however prompt vessels remained under pressure with a 34,000-dwt fixing from Santos to Morocco with sugar at $14,000. Asia remained generally quiet but levels were said to have remained steady with a delicate tonnage to cargo balance this week, a 37,000-dwt opening in China fixed via Western Australia to the Far East at $7,000 whilst a 30,000-dwt fixed from Singapore via Kajang to China with Alumina at $6,500.