The capes started the week on an upbeat note. All three majors were active in the market at the beginning of the week, resulting in a healthy volume of cargo from West Australia to China. As a result, rates pushed up accordingly, together with a positive paper market. Although by mid-week there was a feeling that the Pacific was looking a little toppy and sentiment shifted. This was also reflected in the paper market losing value. Rates began to diminish towards the end of the week, with a noticeable lack of activity. Brokers said that the supply of tonnage in the North Atlantic is tight and remained so during the week. There were stronger fronthaul and trans-Atlantic fixtures concluded earlier in the week, although, overnight brokers said a slightly softer fixture was done from Seven Islands to China. At the beginning of the week there was more activity from South Brazil to China and conditions were said to be steady. As the week comes to an end there is a quieter feel, particularly from South Brazil to China, which appears to be rather flat. There is a spread starting to develop between charterers’ and owners’ ideas, which has resulted in many owners taking the attitude to watch, wait and see.
After a mixed start it returned a week of negativity with rates falling throughout. Reduced fixing volumes and a build-up of tonnage in most origins gave charterers the upper hand and reduced bids consequently became the common theme. The Atlantic lacked any real demand, both in the North and the South, this week. Ballaster tonnage began to show signs of under pinning rates and many APS load port deals were concluded for end May/early June arrival ex EC South America. Earlier in the week, several reports of 82,000-dwt types achieving about the $17,500+$750,000-mark basis delivery aps EC South America for trips to the Far East. Asia began the week with solid coal demand, ex Australia to India, but overall the arena returned an oppressed market with rates easing, including an 82,000 dwt delivery China agreeing $12,250 for a trip via Australia redelivery India. Period activity was slim, although reports emerged of an 81,000 dwt agreeing $15,250 basis 8/10 months.
A mixed bag during the week as brokers described a rather positional feel to many areas. In the Atlantic, the US Gulf seemed to be gaining momentum, although little information surfaced. Further South, EC South America saw little fresh impetus, with some commenting little fresh enquiry kept a lid on rates. From Asia, it appeared to a two-tier market as the small size lost out rate wise to the larger Ultramax size, which some charterers preferred to utilise. A little more enquiry was seen from the North, although generally it remained finely balanced. From the Atlantic, a 61,000-dwt was heard fixed delivery US Gulf trip to the Arabian Gulf at $24,000. Elsewhere, a 53,000-dwt was fixed delivery West Africa for a trip to the Continent at $12,250. From Asia, a 56,000-dwt open China fixed a trip to the Mediterranean at $9,500. Further south, a 61,000-dwt fixed delivery East Kalimantan trip via Indonesia redelivery Vietnam at $19,000. The Indian Ocean saw a little action, with a 61,000 dwt fixing delivery Durban trip redelivery Far East at $20,000, plus $200,000 ballast bonus.
Despite minimal visible activity, positivity returned to the Asia markets, although the Atlantic continued to see a general lack of enquiry leading to a growing list of open vessels. A 32,000 dwt was fixed basis delivery passing Skaw for a trip to the Mediterranean at $13,000, whilst a large handy was rumoured to have been fixed for a trip from Damietta, with 15-20 May dates to the US Gulf with an intended cargo of cement in the low to mid-teens with a figure of about $150,000 for hold cleaning. A 33,000 dwt open in Geelong was fixed via Adelaide to South East Asia with an intended cargo of grains at $15,500. A 38,000 dwt opening in CJK was fixed for a trip to EC Central America at about $10,000. Whilst a 28,000-dwt opening in South Korea was rumoured to have been placed on subjects for a trip via North China to South East Asia at $7,000.