The market was a white knuckled ride this past week as a large downside movement shed value quickly leaving many in bewilderment. The 5TC opened the week at $32,765 and closed on Friday at $27,145. It became apparent on Monday that the market was sliding. Tuesday brought about a modest decline on all routes before the storm clouds gathered. Wednesday it dropped throughout the day, with most activity centred on C3 and C5 routes. Thursday erosion continued on all routes, but by the end of the trading day a floor had been found to close the week with a small rebound. The West Australia to China rollercoaster opened the week at $10.90, rising quickly to $11.145, then plummeted to $9.336 to close out the week at $9.77. The Brazil to China C3 big dipper opened the week at $27.518, reached a low of $22.614, before closing out at $23.145. Rate levels are still considered high for recent times while the nerves of a few are surely being tested.
There was a change in sentiment last week, with rates coming under pressure and owners struggling to maintain last done levels. It was expected after a prolonged period of gains, although whether it is a genuine change in market direction, or a short term correction, is still a matter for discussion. The fundamentals in the North Atlantic remain unchanged, so only early ships, or ballasters, seemed willing to reduce their ideas to find cover. However on Friday many marked the Index down heavily. South America was said to be very positional, with mid-August firmer than earlier or later August dates. The East witnessed a sharper correction as the recent unexpected levels had been driven by the rapidly improving Atlantic market, Cape and FFA markets, with the latter two softening this week. Period trades have also been affected by the decline in paper values, although these appeared to recover some ground by the end of the week.
It was a week of mixed fortunes, with a change of direction, mainly seen in the Atlantic, from the recent increases on the Baltic Supramax Index (BSI). Limited period activity surfaced, but a 52,000dwt vessel open South China was fixed for 9-11 months trading at $9,500. Key areas such as the US Gulf and East Mediterranean saw slides in rates as fresh enquiry became scarce towards the week’s end. A 62,000-tonner was fixed from the US Gulf to the East Mediterranean at around $18,000. Brokers also reported lower activity than of late from East Coast South America. The Asian market remained active, but routes saw negative moves towards the end of the week. Indonesian coal cargoes saw a 63,000dwt ship fixing delivery for a South China trip via Indonesia, redelivery China, at $11,700. North Pacific cargoes saw a 53,200dwt vessel fixed delivery Tonda via the US West Coast, redelivery China with petcoke, at $9,350. Indian Ocean rates remained steady, a 55,000dwt vessel covering delivery South Africa, redelivery Arabian Gulf – West Coast India, at $12,750 plus $275,000 ballast bonus.
Whilst other sectors showed declines last week, the Baltic Handysize Index (BHSI) still made gains overall, despite signs of slowing down in the US Gulf. The market calmed down across most of the key areas in the Atlantic, whilst the Pacific market remained firm and stable. A 30,000-tonner open Port Said was booked for a trip redelivery in the US Gulf at $9,000 early in the week. A 39,000dwt vessel was fixed from North Brazil for a grain run to the US Gulf/Caribbean range at $18,000. In the east, a 28,000dwt ship open Thailand was failed on subjects for moving sugar to Indonesia at $7,000 and later on was fixed again for a similar run at the same level. A 33,000-tonner open Indonesia was fixed for an Australia round voyage at $9,500 and a 38,000dwt ship open in the Philippines was fixed for Southeast Asia redelivery at $10,500.