The capesize market started the week with a cautiously optimistic tone despite sluggish overall activity. Weather disruptions in China and a gradual start in the Atlantic were also notable factors.
There was a significant boost to market sentiment, with the BCI 5TC seeing a substantial increase, driven by active engagement from all three miners in the Pacific and robust cargo lists. Further in some owners secured cover ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays, leading to a decline in C5 rates. As the week drew to a close there was a mixed picture, with the Pacific market experiencing pressure on rates initially, followed by a correction, while activity remained robust from South Brazil and West Africa, tightening the market slightly, specifically for end February/early March loaders from South Brazil and West Africa. Overall, the week was influenced by Lunar New Year holiday preparations and regional demand dynamics.
A captivating time for the panamax market with various peaks and troughs seen across the market. Despite a muted start the Atlantic sprung into life, however very mixed views on where true market value was observed on some of the routes. Primarily good grain fronthaul demand was said to be lending support on trans-Atlantic rates as demand ate into the tonnage count. EC South America returned an active week, the deferred dates for March appeared firmer priced in comparison to the end February arrivals with several deals fixed around the US$17 000 + US$700 000 mark delivery Aps load port. Asia returned a mixed week as the Lunar New Year holidays began. The Nopac rounds were seen concluding around the US$10 500 mark for 82 000 DWT types whilst LME tonnage regularly achieved US$10 000 levels for trips via Indonesia to China. Period activity remained prevalent too, with US$17 000 concluded on a new build 82 000 DWT delivery ex yard China basis one year.
Another rather positional time overall for the sector, with the Year of the Dragon approaching levels of fresh enquiry in Asia were limited certainly in the Southeast. From the Atlantic, a limited supply of fresh tonnage in the US Gulf saw rates push up, whilst the South Atlantic was described as finely balanced although there were some stronger numbers seen for fronthaul business. Period cover was actively short, a 63 500 DWT open US Gulf fixing 12 months trading with redelivery Singapore-Japan at US$19 500 and another 63 500 DWT open India fixed similar duration redelivery worldwide at US$17 000. From the Atlantic, an ultramax was fixed from New Orleans to Singapore-Japan at US$31 000. Further south, a 63 000 DWT fixed delivery Santos redelivery SE Asia at US$18 000 plus US$800 000 ballast bonus. In Asia limited action although a 63 000 DWT open CJK fixed a NoPac round at US$12 000. Stronger numbers were seen again from the Indian Ocean. A 63 000 DWT fixed delivery Port Elizabeth for mid-February to the Far East at US$25 000 plus US$250 000 ballast bonus.
General negativity continued across the handy sector premiums remained for specialist vessels with a 38 000 DWT log-fitted vessel fixing basis passing Skaw via Riga to Baltimore with a cargo of sawn lumber at US$14 750 whilst a standard 38 000 DWT fixed from Hamburg to EC South America in the low US$10 000’s with a cargo of fertilizer. Limited cargo availability was still an issue for prompt vessels in the US Gulf with a 32 000 DWT fixing from SW Pass to Ireland with grains at US$9000. The South Atlantic showed some resistance for later dates, however prompt vessels remained under pressure with a 34 000 DWT fixing from Santos to Morocco with sugar at US$14 000. Asia remained generally quiet but levels were said to have remained steady with a delicate tonnage to cargo balance this week, a 37 000 DWT opening in China fixed via Western Australia to the Far East at US$7000 whilst a 30 000 DWT fixed from Singapore via Kajang to China with Alumina at US$6500.
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