This week has been exceptional for the capesize market, consistently gaining traction. The Pacific market kicked off the week with strong momentum, with all the major players from West Australia to China actively participating. The Atlantic witnessed a notable uptick, prompting owners to favour ballasting towards this region. The positive sentiment in the Atlantic persisted despite reduced activity from south Brazil and West Africa. Tuesday saw subdued activity in the Pacific, resulting in a slight decline in C5 rates, but stability prevailed overall. Tight conditions in the North Atlantic led to an optimistic outlook, with anticipation of further upward pressure on rates. Wednesday brought a rebound in the Pacific, contributing to a surge in rates that was also witnessed in the North Atlantic. Brokers indicated a reduction in available ballasters from the Pacific to the Atlantic, limiting arrivals in south Brazil in December. This resulted in more constrained conditions in the South Atlantic, coupled with a notable presence of a major on C3 looking for December loaders, prompting a substantial increase in rates. As the week concludes, the overall sentiment remains highly optimistic, as exemplified by the BCI 5TC. It commenced the week at $31,671 and has experienced a notable increase, reaching $51,727 by close.
Whilst not as spectacular as the capesize market, the recent bull continued in the Panamax market this week, yielding solid gains for the owners. The North Atlantic was driven by tonnage shortage hindered by severe weather delays, consequently authentic trans-Atlantic rounds were seen concluded several times towards the upper $28,000s. Activity ex South America was less prevalent; however, rates did see a small up-tick towards the end of the week. A similar picture emerged in Asia tight tonnage count appeared on the nearby, with the Indonesia to China coal supply transpiring as a catalyst for firmer numbers on these trips and filtering into the longer Australia coal trips into Japan/India etc. A $18,500 figure being the headline rate on an 81,000-dwt delivery Japan for a trip via New Zealand to Korea run, whilst $16,000 emerged as the median rate for NoPac round trips as the immediate firm outlook continued to find support.
A strong week for the sector as a lack of prompt tonnage in areas such as the US Gulf and Mediterranean fueled positive momentum with the knock-on effect of seeing charterers sourcing tonnage further afield. From Asia, a slightly less turbulent week, although as the week closed rates and demand were seemingly pushing up with better numbers being achieved. Period cover was actively sort, with a 52,000-dwt open Turkey was fixed for minimum four months to about six months trading at $20,000, whilst a 61,000-dwt open New Mangalore was fixed for minimum three months to maximum 4.5 months trading at $16,500. Stronger numbers were seen in the Atlantic, with a 63,000-dwt fixing delivery US Gulf with wood pellets for a trip to the Continent at $39,000, whilst Ultramaxes were fixing at close to $18,000 plus $800,000 ballast bonus for South American fronthaul cargoes. From Asia, a 56,000-dwt was fixed for a trip from Singapore to China at $17,000, whilst a 63,000-dwt was heard to have been fixed delivery Japan for a NoPac round redelivery Southeast Asia in the mid $17,000s.
Unlike the larger sisters, the Handysize sector had a rather calmer feel, certainly from Asia where cargo and tonnage levels remained finely balanced. That said, as the week closed owners’ expectations were on the rise and looking forward there was a more positive feel. In the Atlantic, a lack of prompt tonnage from South America saw stronger numbers being achieved, with a 35,000-dwt fixing delivery Recalada in early December for a trip with steels to the US Gulf at $25,000. Further north, a 37,000-dwt was heard to have been fixed delivery US Gulf for a trip to Morocco at $27,000. From the Continent, a 36,000-dwt was heard to have been fixed delivery Baltic for a trip via Hamburg to Portugal at around $18,000-$19,000. There was also talk of a 33,000-dwt fixing delivery Skaw for a trip via Russian Baltic to the US Gulf with fertiliser at $20,000.