It was another rollercoaster week with high activity on the west Australia and Brazil to China routes. The Capesize 5TC opened the week at $14,794 to move quickly up to $17,889 at midweek before tailing off towards the weekend at $16,741. While the Transatlantic C8 was a calm seas story, the ballaster C14 and the trans-Pacific C10 routes drove rates hard and attracted tonnage for their region with values stalling out on Wednesday. On the ballaster route the tonnage levels remain substantial, with some suggestion of a lack of cargo for end March dates. In the Pacific, the West Australia to China C5 hit a high of $9.623 this week before coming off to settle at $9.155. With the commodity markets and the smaller vessel sizes still pushing up the Capesize sector is feeling supported. The values are ebbing and flowing with strength which is unusual for this time of the year. Capes are being heard taking unusual cargoes along several new routes as Owners, traders, and Charterers grapple with this exciting 2021 market they find themselves in.
It has been an interesting week, where the Atlantic appeared to have a positional divide with the north Atlantic tonnage under pressure due to lack of demand. This resulted in fixtures on delivery at loadport basis seeming to be the norm for trans-Atlantic rounds, with $28,000/day concluded a few times via NC South America. Further south a steady flow of cargo from the Americas kept rates largely flat. However, pressure continues to mount on vessel arriving end March/early April in EC South America. Asia, conversely, has been steady all week with pockets of tonnage tightness in the north for the NoPac round trips affecting levels, which was demonstrated by a nice 82,000-dwt delivery Japan achieving $24,000/day for such trip. The mean average on the week is closer to $22,000. There was a steady flow of coal ex Indonesia to China supporting rates here to average out around the $22,500 level throughout the week. Period activity included an 81,000-dwt delivery far east achieving $17,250 for four to six months.
Overall the market maintained the strong levels seen in recent weeks. There was, however, a contrast in sentiment between Asia and the Atlantic. Asia rose strongly whilst demand from some key areas within the Atlantic lacked momentum as the week ended. Period activity remained strong. A scrubber fitted 61,000-dwt open Singapore fixing four to six months trading at $26,250 with scrubber benefit for Owner’s account. Elsewhere, a 63,000-dwt open US Gulf fixed a short period at $21,000 plus $1 million ballast bonus. From the Atlantic a lack of fresh enquiry tempered rates. A 60,000-dwt fixing a trip from US Gulf to Japan in the upper $30,000s and from the Mediterranean a scrubber fitted 55,000-dwt fixing a trip from Italy to west Africa in the upper $20,000s. From Asia a 61,000-dwt open Malaysia was fixed for a trip via Indonesia to west coast India at $24,000. And from the Indian Ocean strong numbers remained as a 60,900-dwt was fixed from west coast India to China at $42,000.
The week showed no sign of slowing down in both basins. As expected, both the overall index and time charter average climbed further with an increment of over 100 points and $2,000 respectively during the week. In the Atlantic, the Mediterranean market appeared to be slightly quieter compared with east coast South America and the US Gulf. Meanwhile, in the Pacific - in addition to short to medium period activity remaining vigorous - the Arabian Gulf market was said to be in full swing recently. A 32,000-dwt delivery Fujairah 20/25 March was fixed for short period in the low $20,000s. Inter-Persian Gulf petcoke paid $29,000 on a 32,000-dwt delivery Khalifa. A 38,000-dwt open CJK was fixed for four to six months at $21,000. A smaller 28,000-dwt logger open in southeast Asia was fixed for a trip via New Zealand to China at $20,000 and a 38,000-dwt did a similar run at $29,000.