Charterers slowed the pace this week to try and check rates, and, to an extent, succeeded. In Asia levels on the key West Australia/China route at the start of the week hovered close to $9.00 and an eco-180,000dwt 2010-built vessel, open Dalian, fixed a round voyage at a strong $25,400 daily. However, as the miners slowed the pace, rates drifted, slipping to near the $8.00s for late July-early August cargoes. As the week closed out, owners were putting up a fight, with rates climbing back to $9.00, and possibly slightly over. On the Saldana Bay/Qingdao run rates were also talked down, but brokers suggested levels were nearer the mid $16.00s at the time of writing. The Atlantic market remained split in two halves, with tonnage still extremely tight in the North, and in the South, talk of cargoes still to be fixed. Front haul activity was confined to voyage fixing, but brokers suggested rates equated to the low $40,000s daily. Transatlantic business slowed impacting on rates, but here too as the week ended brokers talked of $13.00, next likely to be paid from Puerto Bolivar to Rotterdam for 160,000-tonne 10% cargoes. From Brazil, rates were still at around $22.00 from Brazil to China having slipped from a high of about $22.70 for 1-10 August. Vale has seemingly yet to fix, with brokers awaiting its move in the market, but there were those expecting rates to move imminently. Paper values have largely remained solid throughout the week and period interest remained in the market, but so far deals are being kept under wraps.
The Atlantic experienced some large gains this week, triggered by a lack of tonnage on the North Continent and significant enquiry from Murmansk and the Baltic. Kamsarmaxes began fixing at rates in excess of $18,000, and in one case, over $20,000 for shorter duration trips. As the week progressed, this firmness filtered through to other areas, as a grain house fixed longer rounds at $16,000 and $16,500 respectively. EC South American grain was relatively slow until a flurry of activity mid-week, with rates similar to last done, or ever so slightly better. The Pacific market remained under pressure all week despite increased NoPac demand and a busy Indonesian market, as early tonnage was forced to reduce their rates to find cover, or begin the ballast to EC South America. A 10-year old Kamsarmax, open Ulsan, promptly fixed a Prince Rupert round with a Japanese charterer at $12,300 daily. Whilst a grain house secured a 2011-built Kamsarmax from Ube for an EC Australia/China run at $11,000 daily. The period market remained dormant as owners held their rates in line with the paper market, but charterers showed less appetite to take cover this week. A 2018 84,549dwt, open Yeosu at the end of this month, fixed for a year with an option of a further year at $15,750 daily.
More activity was seen as the week progressed from key areas in the Atlantic, whilst rates from the Asian sector moved sideways. Very limited activity was reported on the period front, but a 63,000dwt open USG was rumoured fixed for two to three laden legs, redelivery Far East, at $14,000 plus a $400,000 ballast bonus.
Improved numbers were seen from the East Mediterranean, particularly for Ultramaxes. A 63,000dwt was fixed basis delivery Canakkale for a trip to the USG at $10,000 for 45 days and $14,500 thereafter. From the Continent, a 63,500dwt was fixed for a trip to China at $19,900. There were mixed views from the South American market, with limited reporting. A 50,000dwt was booked for a trip redelivery Australia at $13,250 plus $325,000 ballast bonus. Whilst an Ultramax was rumoured fixed for a trans-Atlantic trip in the mid-upper teens. The USG remained active, with a 52,000dwt fixed to move a grain cargo to the West Mediterranean at $14,000. While a 56,000dwt was fixed to Pakistan at around $23,000.
From Asia, a flat week overall, with limited fresh inquiry, brokers said. For Indonesia coal a 56,000dwt was taken at $10,350, delivery Singapore, redelivery South China, including CJK. For Australasian business, a 53,000dwt was booked delivery Kohsichang for a trip via Kwinana, redelivery North China, at approximately $8,750. Limited action reported from the Indian Ocean but a 58,000dwt fixed delivery Port Elizabeth trip, redelivery Singapore-Japan, at $13,000 plus a $325,000 ballast bonus was reported.
A flat week for Handysizes, reflected overall in the BHSI, unchanged for two days this week. There was a little more activity seen from the Mediterranean where a 37,000dwt was reported fixed basis Canakkale for a trip via the Black Sea, redelivery Egypt, in the mid $9,000s. Also, Handies were being traded in the low-mid $10,000s for inter-Mediterranean grain movements. From EC South America, 35,000dwt vessels were being fixed in the mid $12,000s to the Mediterranean. Routes from the Continent lost ground with limited fresh enquiry emerging, but looking forward, some brokers said with the grain harvest expected soon from Europe, more activity might well be seen from South America. Little was reported from the USG and again routes saw some negative trend. From the Asian markets, a 28,000dwt open Japan was fixed for a trip to Thailand, with steels in the mid $9,000s, whilst a 36,000dwt fixed from South Korea to EC India went around $10,500. Furthermore, a 37,000dwt fixed a trip delivery Tianjin, redelivery SE Asia, at $8,000. Further south, a 29,700dwt open Kuala Tanjung, was rumoured booked for an Australian round voyage in the high $7,000s at the beginning of the week. As the week came to a close a 33,000dwt was fixed delivery Chittagong for a trip via EC India, redelivery Arabian Gulf, at $8,500.
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