The market continued to firm all week, with the 5TC closing on Friday at $34,583, up $4,146 for the week. This marks a new high for the year and a remarkable lift from the lows of 3 April 2019, when it was a mere $3,540. Over the week, signals had been apparent that the Atlantic was coming to the boil as healthy demand struggled to find tonnage. Coming to a head at the end of the week, Brazil to China leapt almost $2 to settle on the index at $28.118. Transatlantic rates bounded up to $37,500 giving the basin a significant premium over its Pacific rival at $30,188. The Pacific, with a much greater supply of vessels, was a source of stability this week, resistant to pressures from the vessel drain to the Atlantic basin. West Australia to China C5 closed the week out at $10.359, a slight drop from the previous week. Sentiment is up though, and the Atlantic is not finished so more lifts may be in store.
Last week appeared to be a week of consolidation. Rates remained firm in most areas with only pockets of weakness evident in the North Atlantic and North Pacific due to a slight build up in available tonnage. The general sentiment remains strong, aided by an improving Cape market. The indices were all positive, albeit mostly small gains. South America was again the main focus of attention with rumours of grain houses bidding ships for delivery China, in some cases North China. However, talk of the possible upcoming tariffs over the weekend seemed to stifle any real excitement. That said, a Kamasarmax was eventually concluded at $20,000, plus $1 million ballast bonus, for end September dates back to the East. There had been a few period trades rumoured, details remained private, but a modern Kamsarmax agreed six to eight months at around $17,000 basis delivery India.
It was another strong week across the board, with sentiment remaining positive from key areas. Period cover was sought by charterers. A 63,400dwt vessel, open in the Continent, was taken for a short period redelivery Atlantic at $18,250. There was talk of Ultramaxes fetching high $13,000s-$14,000 for three to five months trading from North Asia. Atlantic demand remained: from East Coast South America for fronthaul business, a 61,000dwt ship covered at around $18,000 plus $800,000. Tonnage remained tight from the US Gulf, where an Ultramax was fixed in the mid $30,000s for a petcoke run to India. Like the Atlantic, the Asian basin also remained firm, with Ultramaxes open South China fixing in the mid-teens for a trip via Indonesia and redelivery China. Pacific round voyages saw a 56,000-tonner covering at $13,000, delivery Japan via Australia. The Indian Ocean remained tight: a 57,000dwt ship fixed basis delivery for a Port Elizabeth trip, redelivery Singapore Japan, at $16,250 plus $625,000 ballast bonus.
Despite a public holiday in the U.K. on Monday, the Baltic Handysize Index (BHSI) climbed higher along with the improvement in other sizes. The US Gulf and East Coast South America markets remained firm, with the rates from the Continent gradually increasing. These rates gained even further towards the weekend as the tonnage supply tightened in the region. A large Handymax, open in the Baltic, was failed on subjects for a trip to East Coast South America at $18,000, and later re-fixed for an inter-Continent trip with coal at a better level. In the East, brokers saw more requirements – in the Far East in particular. CIS and North Pacific trading lent stronger support compared with the cargo going southbound from the North. A 32,000dwt ship open Tianjin was fixed for $10,000 for a trip to South Korea. A 38,000dwt ship, open in Indonesia, was fixed for moving steel to Taiwan at $13,000.
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