There were finally reports of increased Brazil activity, but still largely unconfirmed. Vale reportedly took six ships Thursday for 5 April onwards, from Tubarao to Qingdao at $14.90, with three for delivery North West Europe, and three ballasters from the East. This may provide a much-needed boost to the Atlantic market, which took a big hit on Thursday, with a cargo fixed from Ponta Da Madeira to Dunkirk West and East, at just $6.50. There were various reports suggesting the time charter equivalent, but the consensus was that it equated to under $5,000 daily.
A couple of ships were also taken from the Continent/Baltic for two to three laden legs, one 2016-built and one 2007-built, with Atlantic redelivery at rates linked to the BCI. Despite steady activity from West Australia to China, rates slipped, but, so far, were holding over $6.00. Both Rio Tinto and FMG fixed rates ranging from $6.05 to $6.15 for late March liftings. Time charter activity was limited, but sources continued to suggest that rates were around the upper $11,000 daily for BCI types, however, some were less optimistic over current rates. There has been some coal moving from East coast Australia, but, again, having little impact on rates. Despite the spot market being under pressure, period rates have been holding, with a 181,000-tonner, 2014-built, fixing from Shanghai end-March, for 12 months at $21,000 daily. A 14-year old 175,500-tonner, early April Qingdao, reportedly went for 22 to 24 months, trading at $17,250 daily.
Despite fewer reported period trades this week, rate levels have remained solid. Charterers are still looking to take forward cover and modern Kamsarmaxes, achieving $15,000 daily, or more, for around six months employment. Transatlantic trades, in general, were steady, with premiums for INL breaching and trips into the Mediterranean. The front haul market saw an improvement, with US Gulf grains reappearing after a period of inactivity. A 2006 built Panamax fixed at $19,500 daily, delivery Cape Passero, for a trip via the US Gulf and Panama to the East. East coast South America remained active, but rate levels were date dependent. Vessels arriving 10-20 April saw better numbers than their earlier counterparts, although rates for the prompter ships were still firm. The volume of fixing in the Pacific so far this week will probably lead to a quiet slide into the weekend. However, the firm undertone remained, with a well described 77,000 deadweight, open Japan, fixing at $16,000 daily for a NoPac round voyage. There remained a shortage of early round voyage candidates, and with owners able to consider ballasting south as well, the outlook in the short term was expected to remain firm.
It was a better week across the board, with the Atlantic seeing increased activity, and, in some areas, rates improving. Overall, there was a positive feel to the Pacific market. Period activity was seen; with a 58,000-dwt open North China, fixed for a balance of a period of about six to eight months, trading at $12,750.
Some improved levels were seen from the US Gulf, and a 53,400-dwt was booked for a front haul in the mid $20,000s. An Ultramax went at around $27,000 for a similar destination. The East Mediterranean saw strong numbers mid-week, with a 60,000-dwt fixing delivery Damietta, for a trip via the Black Sea to China at $22,000. However, towards the end of the week, some said it might be cooling off. From the Continent, scrap cargoes moved, with a 57,000-dwt fixed from Rotterdam to the East Mediterranean at $16,500. Little surfaced from East coast South America, but some said rates were slowly improving with a lack of prompt tonnage.
Again reasonable levels were seen in the Asian markets. A 58,700-dwt was fixed delivery North China for two laden legs redelivery worldwide at $12,150. Further South, a 56,800-dwt was reported covered basis delivery Singapore trip via Indonesia, redelivery China, at $14,500. A 61,000-dwt was also fixed at Singapore via Indonesia, redelivery India, at $16,000. From the Indian Ocean, a 61,000-dwt open West Coast India, was booked for a trip redelivery China in the mid-low $16,000s. A 56,100-dwt was fixed basis delivery South Africa, for a trip to Singapore-Japan at $13,000 plus $300,000 ballast bonus.
Overall a fairly quiet week with little reported. There was minimal activity East coast South America, with easing rates for Handysize vessels. The US Gulf market again improved, but brokers suggested the gap between the owners and charterers had widened by the end of the week. The rates from the Pacific continued to climb and showed no signs of weakening.
A 30,000-dwt open Casablanca, was fixed at $12,000 for a trip to West Africa. From East coast South America, Handy vessels were booked to West coast South America at $16,000 daily, or, $10,000 daily for a coastal trip to South Brazil. In the East, a 39,000-dwt open South China, was booked for a trip via Indonesia to China at $10,750 daily. Similar rates were reported on a smaller-sized Handy vessel, open Kosichang to China, moving tapioca chips. A trip for Australia to the Far East, paid in the low $15,000s for a 38,000-dwt open close to the loading port, or mid-U$12,000 daily basis delivery, Port Kelang.
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