The market continued its rollercoaster ride last week opening with negative sentiment, but turning around in dramatic fashion by the week’s end. The BCI 5TC reduced from $11,182 at the end of the previous week to a low of $9,898 on Tuesday, but rebounded to $11,621 by Friday. Reasonable cargo volumes were reported out of West Australia to China with rates for C5 lingering around $6.50-$6.75, whilst time charter rates in the Pacific lifted from low to mid-teens level by Friday. In the Atlantic Basin sentiment was given a much needed boost mid-week, with an influx of fronthaul cargoes fixing at stronger levels. Early in the week it was heard that the Vale Brucutu mine had been ordered to close once again on the authority of a Brazilian high court ruling. The saga continues with no clear resolution date in sight. Closing Singapore iron ore week saw improved sentiment, with rates on an upward tangent.
Last week appeared to be one of consolidation. The Atlantic in general was flat with South American front haul remaining around $15,500 plus $550,000 ballast bonus for modern Kamsarmaxes for May dates, whilst the North Continent tonnage supply appeared to tighten, although this hadn’t yet had much influence on rates. Tonnage open in the Mediterranean had fewer options as the Black Sea market remained quiet, but several modern Kamsarmaxes had been reported at $11,000 for North Coast South American grain rounds basis Gibraltar delivery, which was around $500 better than the previous week. The Pacific was very much mineral driven, with a good volume of activity from various loading areas, with coal into India again dominant. Sources suggested this was now the direction of choice, meaning rate levels to remain in the Pacific had come under a little pressure, although so far this remained very positional.
On the back of better demand from some areas, the Baltic Supramax Index (BSI) made overall gains last week. Period activity however remained patchy: a 55,000dwt vessel fixing delivery Tianjin for four to seven months trading redelivery worldwide at $6,500 for the first 30 days and $9,500 thereafter. In the Atlantic, East Coast South America, the larger sizes improved. An Ultramax fixed at around $14,000 plus $400,000 for a front haul. However, smaller sizes remained flat. It was also fairly flat elsewhere: a 58,000dwt ship fixed from the US Gulf to Italy with petcoke at around $11,000-$11,500 region. From Southeast Asia the market saw better demand: a 56,000-tonner fixing delivery for a Campha trip via Vietnam, redelivery China, at $9,000, with a 57,000-tonner fixing delivery Samarinda trip to West Coast India at $8,250 plus $80,000 ballast bonus. The Indian Ocean had increased activity, with Ultramax vessel’s fixing at around $12,000 plus $200,000 ballast bonus, delivery South Africa, redelivery Far East.
A lacklustre week on the Handysize with many brokers saying the market lacked fresh impetus. Limited period activity surfaced: a 37,000dwt ship being fixed delivery Singapore for four to six months trading redelivery worldwide in the low $8,000s, while a 37,000dwt vessel open Cristobal for four to six months, redelivery Atlantic at low-mid $9,000s. From the Atlantic some said East Coast South America struggled. A 38,000-tonner rumoured fixed delivery Plate, redelivery Peru, in the mid $13,000s. Elsewhere a 31,000dwt ship fixed from the Continent to the East Mediterranean in the low $9,000s and a 37,000dwt vessel also fixed from the Continent for a trip via the Baltic to west Africa in the mid $9,000s. Little surfaced from the Asian basin, but a 37,000-tonner open Weihai was reported being fixed for a trip with steels in the mid $5,000s, however some described this as low. Many are now looking to this week to see if improvements can be made.
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