Rates remained at very low levels across the market and any slight gains were just that with owners fighting over five to ten cents. The Atlantic saw more activity this week with finally some transatlantic activity with the Bolivar/Rotterdam for 150,000 to 160,000-tonne 10% cargo reaching $5.00 and some talk that more has been done. From Brazil, rates for cargo from Tubarao to Qingdao had hovered around $10.00 and a touch more. However a 1-10 May cargo was reported fixed at $9.75, although sources suggested this might not be repeatable.
In the East BHP Billiton was active at the start of the week taking about five ships for 170,000 tonne 10% from Port Hedland to Qingdao around $4.30. Mid-week Rio Tinto took a couple around $4.40 from Dampier with a ship fixed direct at $4.30, while FMG closed out the week allegedly taking three ships from Port Hedland to Qingdao at $4.25. Timecharter rates agreed were still better than most of the voyage equivalents, and a 2000-built 172,000-tonner open Japan fixed at $4,500 daily for a Gladstone round.
South American grain shipments largely dominated the market this week with rates showing some improvements for trips to the East and transatlantic. Charterers were looking to take ships on a dop basis, with delays evident in Santos and Paranagua, although few delays evident in Argentina. Well described Panamaxes/Kamsarmaxes were seeing $7,000 or the low $7,000 daily range from Singapore/Indian Ocean. Rates too have improved for grain moving from east coast South America to the Continent/Mediterranean with a Kamsarmax fixed at from east coast South America to the Skaw-Cape Passero at $10,000 to $10,500 daily plus a $150,000 bonus, while a 71,000-tonner 2012-built agreed $10,250 daily plus a $150,000 bonus from Brazil to Spain. A 76,000-tonner also fixed from Cape Passero for a trip via east coast South America to Skaw-Cape Passero at $5,700 daily.
There too was some fixing of grain from the Continent with a 76,000-tonner close to concluding for Ghent delivery for a trip probably via north France to the East at $10,000 daily.
Round voyage rates in the East were largely easier and despite some fixing still a continuing supply of early ships. The market remained very positional with an eco Kamsarmax able to make April loading went at $6,000 daily from South Korea for a NoPac round. Some charterers were still talking much lower rates and aps basis while a 76,000-tonner fixed from Xiaocuo for a trip via east coast Australia to east coast India at just $3,250 daily.
A slightly disappointing week in most areas after earlier optimism seemed to run out of steam. In the south Atlantic however, rates did appear to be at least steady as reports emerged of a 2006-built 55,600 dwt vessel being booked by a grain house for a trip from south Brazil to Algeria at about $11,000 daily. In the US-Gulf there was talk of the market lacking momentum, however there was a report of a 2003-built 52,300 ‘Tess 52’ type being fixed for a trip to Italy at about $11,250 daily. On this side there was enquiry from the Black Sea although levels remained unexciting. A 2011 Japanese built 55,800 dwt unit was reported to have been fixed for a trip from the Sea of Marmara to Singapore-Japan at around $7,500 daily.
In the East there was a distinct lack of enquiry from the NoPac area and activity from south-east Asia did not look to be sufficient to prevent rates from sliding. A 2009-built 53,400 dwt ‘Diamond’ type was reported to have been fixed delivery retro Tuticorin for a trip via Indonesia to west coast India at around $6,000 daily, although the business may have been concluded a few days ago.
The focus of attention for the handysize (as for the supras) appeared to be the south Atlantic where enquiry looked to be picking up although the rates on reported fixtures were a mixed bag. A 2012-built 32,800 dwt vessel was reported to have been fixed delivery Nueva Palmira for a trip via the Plate to the Mediterranean at a better $11,000 daily. However, there was also a report of a 2009-built 32,200 dwt ship fixing delivery Brazil for a trip to Norway at a low $7,850 daily.
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