With typhoon Lekima gathering pace, numerous China ports were closed by the end of the week and will likely be for two to three days. In addition to this, the national holiday in Singapore gave a weaker trend to the rates, which all lost value during most of the week before bouncing back up a bit on Friday. By week’s end, the West Australia to China route was being rated around the $9.25 level, as rumours flowed this level had been fixed for end August dates. Brazil to China was hovering around low to mid $21’s after Vale had taken a number of vessels at this level. The Cape 5TC was published at $24,022. With a further holiday in Singapore on Monday it remains to be seen where the levels go.
The beginning of last week saw rates continuing to slide everywhere. However, sentiment soon turned, driven by the limited available tonnage on the North Continent, as many Charterers scrambled to find suitable cover. The transatlantic index rose by almost $2,000, although many felt the reality was much higher. Rates for shorter mineral trips traded at around $20,000 on Panamax and $22,500 on Kamsarmaxes. South American grain activity also increased, with owners able to increase offers due to renewed optimism. A Kamsarmax reported fixed at the end of the week at $17,700 plus $770,000 ballast bonus for end August dates. With sentiment driving the FFA market higher, the East also benefitted. Despite the North Pacific remaining fairly quiet, mineral trades from Indonesia and Australia were again the driving force, combined with the option of longer round voyages via South America.
As the week progressed, sentiment across both Basins rose positively on the back of stronger demand and tighter tonnage availability. Limited period activity surfaced, with a couple of 58,000dwt ships open Baltic-Mediterranean areas being placed on subjects for short period. From the Atlantic, demand grew from East Coast South America, a 62,400dwt vessel being covered at $17,000 plus $700,000 ballast bonus for a trip to Chittagong. In the US Gulf a 64,000-tonner was rumoured to have covered a trip to Turkey at close to $17,000. Activity from the Mediterranean increased, a 57,000dwt ship covering delivery Canakkale via the Black Sea, redelivery Southeast Asia at $21,750. It was a lacklustre start from the Asian arena, but as the week closed better numbers were being discussed. A 58,000dwt vessel open Kemaman fixed for two to three laden legs, redelivery Singapore-Japan, at $12,250. The Indian Ocean tightened, with a 62,200-tonner fixing delivery South Africa trip to Singapore-Japan at $14,000 plus $400,000 ballast.
The market was described to be stable at the start of the week, with an evident gap between owners and charterers in both basins. The Continent and East Coast South America began to improve since the middle of the week, however, the picture for the US Gulf remained unclear. From East Coast South America, costal trips paid $14,000 on a 36,000dwt ship and $18,750 on a 33,000dwt ship for moving steels to Lagos. In the East, most of the stems with first half August dates were covered and the market was expecting more orders from the Arabian Gulf or Australia with later dates. Overall rates from the Pacific softened with a lack of volume lending support. On the period front, a 37,000dwt vessel open East Australia was fixed for three to five months with redelivery in the Atlantic at a rate in the high $9,000s plus an undisclosed ballast bonus. A 34,000-tonner open West Mediterranean was fixed in the $10,000s for four to six months.
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