Some relief for owners as the week closed out with the market finding a floor in the East. Rates on the key West Australia/China run looked close to slipping under $6.00. But after a clear-out of some early ships, and increased activity from operators and miners, there was some resistance.
Rates finished the week in the mid-$6.00s, although one of the miners secured tonnage at $6.35. Time charter trading was sluggish, with rates losing ground over the week but still hovering in the teens for round voyages. An active Brazilian market was needed for any sustained recovery. But activity here was limited. Vale has yet to feature significantly in the market, with activity left to operators; the rate to China is now around the low-mid $15.00s. It was a discouraging week for owners with ships in the North Atlantic, where a build-up of tonnage and limited cargo saw rates barely holding at $7.00.
Puerto Bolivar/Rotterdam cargoes with time charter rates neared $8,000 daily, but there was a voyage cargo fixed from Seven Islands to Turkey, that allegedly showed $10,000 daily for a BCI type vessel Cape Passero delivery and redelivery. There have been some new cargoes, but there remained some early ships still to be fixed. Despite a fragile spot market, charterers continued to look for, and book, period tonnage for periods up to a year. Ships were still able to secure rates of around $20,000 daily, depending on description.
Both the short period and one-year period markets remained active. But while rates were largely unchanged from the end of last week, improved spot rates and a firmer paper market prompted increased activity. A 12-year old 77,000 tonner, fixed from Busan for five to seven months, at a healthy $14,750 daily.
The week began slowly as usual before activity peaked midweek with healthy fixture volume seen in both basins. Short mineral trades from the Baltic to the Mediterranean reached in excess of $16,000. There was also support from transatlantic grains, in addition to renewed fixing for US Gulf front haul grains. South America activity dipped briefly, but increased cargoes for March and April saw rates steady, with an overaged 75,000-tonner for 18 -20 March delivery on the east coast fixed at $15,000 daily and a $500,000 bonus. A 2007 built 77,000-tonner open east coast India, achieved $14,500 daily for a trip via the east coast of South America to the East. In the East, increased grain demand from NoPac boosted rates, with a 2007-built, 75,000-tonner, fixing from Rizhao, for a round at $14,500 daily.
The market saw some positive gains this week, certainly in Asia. Strong numbers were talked about for NoPac rounds, where brokers said rates in excess of $10,000 daily could be achieved on good vessels. Coal demand boosted activity in the Indian Ocean. On the period front, charterers remained active, with a 60,000-dwt, open Haldia, fixed for three to six months trading at $13,000 daily, and a 64,000-dwt, open south China, at $14,000 daily for 12 months.
In the Atlantic, there was still activity from the US Gulf. The east coast South American market remained flat with little reported. In the Mediterranean, a 56,000-dwt was fixed, delivery Canakkale via the Black Sea, for a trip to the Egyptian Mediterranean, at $11,000 daily. Off the Continent, a 58,000-dwt was fixed for a scrap run, via Klaipeda redelivery east Mediterranean, at around $17,000 daily.
The Asian market remained active. A 61,000-dwt was reported fixed basis delivery Shanghai prompt for a trip via Indonesia redelivery west coast India, at $11,000 daily. Furthermore, a 56,000-dwt was booked delivery Singapore, for a trip via Indonesia, redelivery South China, at $15,000 daily. Demand was brisk from South Africa, with a 60,300-dwt fixed delivery Richards Bay, for a trip with coal to the Arabian Gulf-west coast India range, at $13,000 daily, plus $300,000 ballast bonus. A 58,000-dwt was booked delivery, Port Elizabeth trip to the Far East, at $13,000 daily, plus $300,000 ballast bonus. Further north, a 57,000-dwt agreed $13,500 daily for a trip from Paradip to China.
The US Gulf remained firm, while rates for the rest of the Atlantic market largely flattened. The Pacific basin stayed firm throughout the week, with rates continuing to improve: a tight tonnage list was reported Japan-Singapore range. On the period front, a 38,000-dwt vessel was reportedly fixed for about five to eight months trading at $10,500 daily basis delivery in Singapore and worldwide redelivery.
A 34,000-dwt open Barranquilla was booked for a trip to the Black Sea with met coke at $15,000 daily. While a 33,000-dwt open Rotterdam was fixed for grain cargo to West Africa at $13,250 daily, a trip for loading logs from West Africa to China paid $12,000 daily on a 28,000-dwt. In the East, a 28,000-dwt open South Korea was fixed for gypsum to the Philippines at $10,000 daily. Larger-sized vessels, delivery in the Far East, were paid over $10,000 per day. The same level was seen from Southeast Asia to the Singapore-Japan range.
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