A tepid week for the big ships, as macro concerns continued to weigh heavily on the index. All of the major voyage routes lost value, with the exception of the C5 West Australia-China route, which traded up a modest $0.21 on the week, on a steady fixing cadence by the majors. The Pacific basin broadly remained the stronger of the two, whilst the Atlantic witnessed further weakness on Thursday, with “K” Line reported to have fixed an end May 180,000 mt Sudeste/Qingdao at $9.80, from which some in the market extrapolated a weaker equivalent $8.80/$9.00 C3 Tubarao-Qingdao.
The weakness appeared to extend to the North Atlantic too, where the Berge Stanley (2011 180,145dwt) was rumoured to have fixed the timecharter equivalent of approximately $14,500 basis delivery Rotterdam for a fronthaul, although others said that the actual number was higher – irrespective the C9 Continent/Med fronthaul route lost some $3,613 on the week. The widely-observed May Day holiday on Friday, may well offer some brief, but welcome respite.
The week appeared to be one of consolidation for owners, with various holidays impacting trade. The North Atlantic appeared severely under pressure with little demand. Several short Baltic rounds were concluded – the mean nestled at around the $4,000 mark. May cargoes ex South America continued to be fixed as we enter peak period for the South American grain market with Kamsarmax types still able to achieve $10,000 delivery SE Asia/India whilst the smaller LME types around $9,000 same basis. The Pacific was very much mineral driven, with a good volume of activity from various loading areas, with coal into China and some into India again dominant. Sources suggested this was now the direction of choice, meaning rate levels to remain in the Pacific had come under a little pressure, although so far this remained very positional. Some improved activity out of South Africa on coal shipments bought some solace to the post Panamax market.
A more positive feel in the market during the week with the Asian arena seeing better demand, but it remains to be seen if this will continue with widespread holidays coming up. No period activity surfaced, with a wide spread between owners’ and charterers’ expectations. From the Atlantic, east coast South America remained fairly flat with a 63,000-dwt fixing a trip to Singapore-Japan at $11,500 plus $150,000 ballast bonus. The east Mediterranean spiked a little with a 58,000-dwt fixing a trip delivery Canakkale via Black Sea to China at $13,500 – albeit for a fairly quick trip. From Asia, stronger numbers – a 55,000-dwt was fixed from Indonesia to China in the mid $6,000s, and an Ultramax open south China fixed a round voyage with nickel ore at $7,000. From the Indian Ocean, a 55000-dwt fixed basis delivery Richards Bay trip to south east Asia at $7,500 plus $75,000 ballast bonus.
The market saw a ray of hope for ships trading from the east coast South America this week, with more activity reported from the region. The draft in the Upriver area stopped decreasing however the tonnage list was still described as long. There was talk of some mid/large Handysize vessels fixing since early/mid of the week from south Brazil to Morocco/Continent direction in the $5,000s, which brokers considered as an improvement.
A grain house fixed a large Handysize from Paranagua for a transatlantic trip at a rate in the mid $4,000s. Meanwhile the pressure remained in the Continent / Mediterranean and US Gulf with tonnage building up. A 34,000-dwt was fixed from the US Gulf for a trip to Morocco at $4,000. In the Pacific, little demand from the Far East continued but more stems were reportedly seen from Australia. A 28,000-dwt open north China was fixed at $2,000 basis CIS for a short round trip.
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Source: The Baltic Exchange