The Capesize market had to contend with volatile bunker concerns once again as the 5TC lost $5956 week on week to close at $15,648. It was also a tough few days for Atlantic owners. The basin plunged a little over 40% in value, with the transatlantic C8 settling at $11,897 on Friday as ample tonnage outweighed the dearth of cargo in the region. The Pacific basin, following relatively healthy activity, saw timecharter rates put up more resistance. However, the transpacific C10 still lost approximately 20% of value under sustained pressure to settle at $19,400. Voyage rates all slid slightly throughout the week, but as the bunker values made another strong rebound a dampening effect was felt on absolute freight rates. The West Australia to China C5 lowered 0.595 over the week to $11.641. Meanwhile, the Brazil to China C3 dipped 1.79 to $26.35. The situation in the Atlantic has seen smaller Panamax stems lifted by Capesize vessels as the spread between the two sectors has widened considerably with smaller vessels well in demand.
An emphatic transatlantic market for Panamax vessels this week saw rates climb dramatically. Asia was more moderate in comparison, with slower growth limited to pockets of resistance on certain trades. The Atlantic saw healthy demand from East Coast and North Coast South America, which pushed rates forward in the north. An 82,000-dwt delivery Continent was rumoured to be fixed at $32,000 for a transatlantic grain round. Meanwhile, further south, the focus on ex EC South America was predominantly transatlantic centric. Asia, overall, appeared passive except for some premium rates paid up on the Australia to India coal trips. This was alongside grain clean/decent spec tonnage open in the North for NoPac grain rounds as demand advanced rates. An 82,000-dwt delivery north China achieved $30,000 in midweek for a NoPac round trip. Indonesia, after recent strong coal activity, lacked any real replenishment and rates largely remained stagnant. Period activity appeared moderate and there were reports of an 82,000-dwt delivery Vietnam achieving $32,000 for short period.
Overall, a strong week was had in this sector. But as it finished there appeared to be some slowing down in certain keys areas. The Atlantic saw strong demand from South America for transatlantic runs and Ultramax vessels were seeing in excess of $50,000 for trips to the Mediterranean. From the US Gulf, sentiment weakened as demand returned to the Mediterranean and Continent regions. This meant the recent premiums were less forthcoming. From the Black Sea, a 63,000-dwt was heard to have fixed a trip to China at $29,000. It was a story of two halves in Asia. The beginning of the week saw strong demand for Indonesian coal business, which buoyed rates. However, this waned as the weekend approached. Further north, backhaul activity helped sustain sentiment. A 61,000-dwt open Zhoushan fixed a trip to the US Gulf at $44,000. The Indian Ocean remained fairly subdued. A 63,000-dwt fixed a trip delivery Port Elizabeth, trip to the Far East at $27,000 plus $700,000 ballast bonus.
East Coast South America was the main driving force behind gains this week with Charterers scrambling to find vessels for prompt requirements. Rates improved daily with a 37,000-dwt fixing from Praia Mole to Diliskelesi with an intended cargo of Pig Iron at $58,500. A 34,000-dwt also fixed from Santos via River Plate to Denmark at $45,000. This has a knock-on effect in other regions as Charterers looked to take tonnage from further afield. A 38,000-dwt fixed a trip from the UK via West Africa and Norway with redelivery Continent at $21,000. The US Gulf also strengthened with a 39,000-dwt fixing a trip to the Continent with an intended cargo of Wood pellets at $30,000. Asia, in contrast, has seen sentiment soften due to lack of fresh enquiry and activity. A 36,000-dwt open in South East Asia was rumoured to have fixed a Pacific Round trip in the low $30,000’s.