Dashed hopes summed up the first full week of the New Year. A slow start followed by a busy 24 hours of improving rates and a firming FFA market fuelled positive sentiment, only to see both paper and physical sales slide the next day. West Australia to China rates briefly moved closer to the high $6.00s, but ended the week at $6.25, as a 2002-built vessel fixed at this rate from Dampier. The ship was re-let having fixed on timecharter at $9,000 daily basis Hong Kong delivery. The Australian miners slowed the pace as the week ended with at least one now bidding $6.00. Brazil to China rates improved briefly, with business fixed in the low $18.00s for January, but dropped sharply lower. However, a 1 to 10 February has now been done at $17.50. Similarly in the North Atlantic, a tighter tonnage supply saw fronthaul rates in the low $30,000s for a 171,000 tonner. There was transatlantic activity, with the BCI C7 Puerto Bolivar to Rotterdam route fixed at $9.00.
With a complete return to work for the first full week of the year it was perhaps no surprise that it was very active, with a large volume of trades reported. Despite the increased activity, there remained too many early vessels in the Atlantic, combined with ballasters from the East, forcing rates lower throughout the week, with many having to wait for later laydays. The transatlantic index dropped $2,500 Monday to Thursday and was still considered by many to be overmarked. South America also softened, with well described Kamsarmaxes fixed at $13,750 plus $375,000 ballast bonus. In the North Pacific saw a busy week but lacked support from the minerals trades, although there was a noticeable increase in cargoes to India during the second half of the week. Indonesia has been disappointing, with rates especially for smaller units hit harder. Some vessels had to wait for later cargoes, but in spite of the weakened spot levels, there were still several short period fixtures concluded.
The first full week back after the holidays was not encouraging, with the Baltic Supramax Index (BSI) falling and tonnage supply outweighing demand in many areas. Limited period activity surfaced, but a 61,000dwt vessel was reported delivery Japan for four to six months trading at $12,500. The Atlantic suffered especially from the US Gulf-US East Coast area where rates fell and a 56,000dwt ship fixed at $14,000 from the East Coast to the Mediterranean. From the Mediterranean, an Ultramax was rumoured fixed in the $19,000s for a trip to the Far East. The Asian arena had a mixed start. From the Indian Ocean a 60,200 tonner fixed delivery South Africa trip to the Far East at $12,400, plus $250,000 ballast bonus. A 56,000dwt vessel agreed delivery Kobe for a North Pacific round at $10,000. Limited action in Southeast Asia but a 53,000 tonner open Cebu went for a trip via Indonesia, redelivery Southeast Asia, at $8,000.
The first full week back began on a low note, with routes across all areas losing ground. Due to a good supply of prompt tonnage from East Coast South America, and a lack of fresh enquiry from the US Gulf, rates slipped. From East Coast South America a 32,000dwt vessel was booked at around $10,000 for a trip to Morocco. A 33,000 tonner went to a grain house at $9,500 delivery Recalada for a transatlantic run. The market remained depressed in the US Gulf, a 38,000dwt ship fixed to the Continent at $9,000. From the Continent, mid-size Handysizes were also around $9,000 for trips to the Mediterranean. In the East, the market lacked impetus. From the North a 38,100 tonner fixed from CJK to Southeast Asia in the high $7,000s. Further South, a 35,000dwt vessel agreed a steels run from South China to Indonesia in the mid-high $7,000s.
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