Still a largely depressing week for the big ships although there was an increase in rates from West Australia to China for late March but this largely the result of draft issues at Dampier prompting a premium. Rio Tinto conceded $4.70 for a 28 March onwards 170,000 tonne 10% cargo from Dampier to Qingdao and the charterer reportedly remained in the market. Another charterer allegedly fixed a 5 April cargo from West Australia to Qingdao around $4.55. Timecharter rates for 174,000 to 176,000 tonners hovered around $3,500 to $4,000 daily for Pacific rounds. The Saldanha Bay/Qingdao rates hovered around the low to mid $7.00 range for mid-April cargoes.
Brazil/China rates remained in the doldrums with rates hovering around $10.00. Further north owners were trying to resist fixing at current low rates on offer and reportedly a 13-22 April 150,000 tonne 10% cargo went at an improved $4.75 for a 150,000 tonne 10% cargo from Bolivar to Rotterdam. A 177,000 tonner open on the Continent was rumoured to have agreed $3,600 daily for a transatlantic round.
South American activity drove the market this week with active fixing and improvement in rates for cargoes to the east. A 74,000 tonner 2000-built reportedly agreed $12,000 daily plus a $200,000 bonus for 9-14 April from east coast South America to the East. A kamsarmax fixed at an improved $9,350 daily plus a $250,000 bonus for early April delivery passing the Cape of Good Hope on this run. Several charterers took ships from the Indian Ocean area at dop rates and there were a couple fixed from Skaw-Cape Passero at rates in the low $9,000 daily range. North Atlantic trading has again been minimal although a 75,000 tonner spot Gibratlar fixed a Plate/Continent run at $5,250 daily.
The pace slowed in the East as fewer new cargoes appeared for NoPac rounds and rates drifted. A 1999 built 73,600 tonner open Qingdao went at $4,250 daily for a NoPac round while a 2001 built 73,000 tonner ex drydock Dalian fixed for a NoPac round at $5,000 daily.
The increased South American activity saw eco kamsarmaxes appearing to favour trips to India for repositioning.
This activity has prompted a step up in period activity, there was talk of an eco kamsarmax fixing for four to six months retroactive Ennore 5 March at $8,600 daily. However an 82,000 tonner agreed $7,250 daily for 23-25 March delivery Hong Kong for four to seven months trading.
Activity picked up in the US Gulf as the week drew to a close, earlier in the week a prompt 58,000 dwt went for a trip to Italy at $11,700 daily and latterly a 63,500 dwt ultramax secured $14,000 daily for a petcoke trip US Gulf to Italy. A number of front-haul trips from the Gulf have also been in evidence, including a Tess 52 fixing a trip with grain for mid-April to Japan at $11,500 daily. In addition a 63,000-dwt ultramax went for a similar trip at $12,500 daily.
Rates for handysizes in South America have seen something of a revival, a 32,000 dwt went for a trip to the Baltic at $9,000 daily and a 38,000 tonner was reported to have fixed a trip from the Plate to the Continent at $11,000 daily. A 34,000 dwt was also said to have obtained around $10,000 daily for a trip from the Plate to the West Mediterranean.
Levels in the East looked to be on the better side of steady, with stronger rates seen for destinations further afield a 56,000 dwt open Korea agreed $9,000 daily for a trip to the Persian Gulf and a 58,000 dwt was trading in the high $9,000s for a trip to the Gulf of Aden. For the more local business a 58,000 dwt, open Sumatra, obtained $8,000 daily for a trip via Indonesia to Taiwan.
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