It has been a relatively quiet week, with a mild degree of adjustments from both basins. The average of the 5 Capesize timecharter routes eventually broke the $4,000 threshold on the last day of the week, pricing at $4,033, which is about a 15 per cent rise compared with last Friday. The Brazil to China voyage trade started the week at $16 and remained in the $16s throughout the week. The West Australia to Qingdao iron ore trade was reportedly done in the low $6s but the overall activity was rather muted. In the Atlantic, there was limited support for both Transatlantic and fronthaul trips. On the period front, there was talk of three Newcastlemax types fixing all with delivery in the Pacific mid/second half of February. However, the rates were not disclosed.
Despite healthy activity, the Panamax sector continued on its turbulent path this week. There was talk of a floor being reached in both basins, which could be argued is premature. However, we do end the week with rates mostly broadside. The Atlantic witnessed marginally better volume but it was still limited chiefly to South America where a steady flow ensued. Rates for March arrivals on the fronthaul trips via East Coast South America were contained to the $13,000s, plus $300,000s delivery APS load port. A stable end to the week in Asia for the shorter Indonesia trades with healthy activity. The longer NoPac and Australia round trips were sparse against tonnage count - although some premium rates did emerge for specific trades. We end the week in need of a fresh injection if we are to see any sustainable improvements. Period news included a newbuilding delivery ex yard China achieving $15,000 for 12 months period.
A lethargic week overall for the sector with prompt tonnage availability outstripping demand in most areas. The effect has been that rates struggled as Charterers remained firmly in the driving seat. However, as the week closed, some felt that a bottom may have been reached with more enquiry on the horizon. There was period interest, but brokers commented there remained a big gap between Owners and Charterers expectations. The Atlantic overall remained negative. A 61,000-dwt fixing a trip from the US Gulf to the Mediterranean at $9,000. Further south, from East Coast South America, a 55,000-dwt fixed a trip to China at $11,000 plus $100,000 ballast bonus. For Transatlantic runs, another 55,000-dwt fixed delivery Recalada redelivery Italy at $10,000. It was a similar story in the Asian arena, a 63,000-dwt open Philippines fixing a trip via Indonesia to China at $8,000. Elsewhere, a 63,000-dwt was heard fixed from India to China at $7,000.
Split sentiment over the course of the week, as the Atlantic was largely negative whilst Asia more positive. East Coast South America remained under pressure and a 35,000-dwt was heard to have been fixed from Recalada to Brazil at $10,000, whilst a 34,000-dwt fixed from Aratu to Constanza at $8,000. In the Mediterranean, a 37,000-dwt was rumoured to have been fixed from Egypt to West Africa at $9,500. The US Gulf lacked impetus as some Owners decided to ballast away from the region to secure employment. From Asia, brokers saw more period interest with Charterers expressing a preference in longer duration. A 37,000-dwt newbuilding linked to a year’s period basis delivery in Japan at 115% of the BHSI and a 38,000-dwt open in Hong Kong fixed for 12 to 14 months at $14,000. A 28,000-dwt open in China was fixed for four to six months at around $9,000.