The Capesize routes endured a week of slippage on rates, bringing the market back down to levels seen at the beginning of the month. Dropping -8,956 over the course of the week the Capesize 5TC settled at $15,675. The Atlantic Basin routes were the big movers with the Transatlantic C8, in particular, coming under fire. It posted down to $23,250 as a lack of cargo took its toll. The Pacific Basin, with an abundance of cargo to go along with available vessels, allowed charterers to continually apply downward pressure with the West Australia to Qingdao C5 dropping -1.728 by weeks end to $6.145. While the market did post down on the last day of the week, there was scattered chatter that the market had bottomed in some regions as the ballaster routes lit up green amongst an otherwise sea of red. This time of the year is usually a seasonal low period for Capesize. However, the market continues to surprise as rates remain elevated. Some would say this bodes well for the remainder of the year.
An interesting week in the Panamax market with widely differing opinions of the market in the Atlantic. Activity in Asia started slowly and diminished as the week went on with spot rates coming under pressure. A $13,250 figure was achieved early in the week for a NoPac round trip. However, these levels slowly eroded as both appetite and activity curtailed. News of ships waiting off China with thermal coal being given permission to discharge began to seep through. But this conceivably will only add to tonnage count in the area, potentially further increasing pressure here. In the Atlantic, it also began the week slowly with varying degrees of rates being concluded. It was largely positional in the North with solid support for breaching and ice breaking trades. Further south from EC South America, there was sporadic trading for much of the week. But it appeared to come alive on Thursday with some well-supported fixtures concluded for first half March arrival dates.
Another positive week for the sector with demand keeping pace with supply in most areas. Period activity was abundant. A 56,000-dwt sizes open in the Indian Ocean seeing $14,000 for three to five months, whilst a 58,000-dwt open China fixed at $11,500 for one year. Atlantic rates remained healthy. A 56,000-dwt fixing from Norway via the Baltic to the Black Sea in the $16,000s and a 57,000-dwt fixing in the low $20,00s for a trip from central Mediterranean via the Black Sea to China. South America remained active, however, information was limited. The Asian arena seemed to have peaked as the week ended. The Ultramax size was fixing in the mid $12,000s for NoPac round voyages. From south east Asia, a 56,000-dwt open Manila was fixed for a trip via Indonesia redelivery China at $11,500. Demand remained from the Indian Ocean. A 63,000-dwt fixing a trip from west coast India to China in the low $19,000s.
The consistent uprising recorded a new high in the Handy sector this week. The BHSI climbed higher up to double the figure published in the same period last year. Throughout the month, the activity level was surged in the Atlantic by Turkish imports of scrap cargoes. Other orders from the Continent also lent further support - especially with end January dates. Both east coast South America and the US Gulf remained, whilst the rates moved sharply higher towards the weekend in the East with all three Pacific routes now being above $10,000. A 37,000-dwt delivery in Southwest Pass was fixed for a trip to Algeria at $16,000 in the middle of the week. A 33,000-dwt open east Mediterranean was fixed for a trip via the Black Sea to west Mediterranean at $17,250. In the Pacific, a 36,000-dwt open east coast Australia was traded and failed on subjects at approximately $20,000s level for a trip back to Southeast Asia.