The market has surged during the last couple of days of the week to trade in the upper region of its recent range. Gaining $920 on the last trading day of the week the Capesize 5TC settled at $14,794, which reflected the solid trading activity. The West Australia to China C5 gained a strong $0.609 to publish at $8.959, while the timecharter trans-Pacific C10 route lifted $2,200 to $18,992 giving the basin a $3,777 premium over the trans-Atlantic C8 route which published at $15,215. The north Atlantic remains relatively quiet yet steady with rates in the $15,000 level seemingly poised and awaiting market direction. The Brazil market was highly active all week and surprisingly lifted strongly in the face of a solid ballaster fleet. There was talk of possible trucking union strike in Brazil, but as yet no specific detail has emerged. The Capesize market recently seems unwilling to lie down and take its Q1 nap. No sooner does the Capesize market close in on the bottom $10,000 range on the 5TC, then the market sentiment turns sharply and violently. The Capesize rule book for Q1 currently seems better left in the bin.
It was an eventful week with the market trend moving one way and then the other. The week began on a negative tone, sparked into life mid-week with an FFA drive only to flatten out somewhat as the week ended. In the Atlantic, it was a less than clear picture in the North with reduced mineral activity and rates for trans-Atlantic rounds being concluded around the $17,000/18,000 mark with options a key for some charterers. Conversely, EC South America found support from the derivative market with $22,500 concluded on an 82,000dwt delivery WC India, however rates were slowly levelling off as the week came to a close. In Asia, buoyed somewhat by the pick-up in South America, rates for Indonesian coal trips to China improved from around $18,000 level to closer to $21,000 levels by Friday. A solid week too for period with various deals concluded as the nearby optimism in the market persisted.
The sector was split in two. Whilst much of the Atlantic remained steady, the Asian market gained momentum throughout the week with rates increasing in many areas. Period cover was still active, with a 61,000-dwt open Japan being fixed for one year at $17,700, whilst in the Atlantic a 58,000-dwt was fixed for short period at $22,000. Routes within the Atlantic generally eased over the week apart from east coast south America where demand remained strong due to tight tonnage supply. A 57,000-dwt fixing a quick trip from US Gulf to Spain in the mid $30,000s. From Asia, a 63,000-dwt open Beihai was fixed for a trip via Indonesia redelivery China at $21,750. Pacific rounds improved, a 63,300-dwt open Hong Kong was fixed for a trip via Australia redelivery Singapore-Japan at $23,000. Again stronger levels from the Indian Ocean, where a 56,000-dwt fixing from South Africa to the Arabian Gulf-west coast India at $15,000 plus $500,000 ballast bonus, there was also a 58,000-dwt which fixed from South Africa to China in the high $16,000s plus high $600,000s ballast bonus.
Overall, the Atlantic market remained relatively quiet compared with last week - especially for delivery Skaw-Passero range. Both east coast South America and the US Gulf showed signs of softening toward the week end. Meanwhile, there was a surge in the Pacific starting from mid-week, with sharp rates being reported on Australian grain orders and steel trips from the Far East to Southeast Asia. Period deals continued in both basins with a 32,000-dwt delivery Icdas in mid March fixing three to five months at $18,500 redelivery Atlantic. A 38,000-dwt open Japan was fixed for four to six months at $18,000 and a 33,000-dwt delivery Chittagong was fixed for seven to nine months at $16,500. In the Atlantic, a 34,000-dwt open in the Black Sea was failed on subjects at $20,000 for a trip to the US Gulf and was later fixed again for the same direction in the low/mid $19,000s. A 38,000-dwt delivery Japan was fixed for a trip via CIS to Vietnam at $20,000 and a similar large-sized open west Australia was said to have fixed for a trip back to the Pacific at $24,000.