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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dry bulk market still looking for new direction


The dry bulk market has kept on moving sideways during this week, with the mixed performance across all segments. Yesterday, the industry’s benchmark, the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) was down by 0.18% to 1,130 points, down by just two points. The Capesize market was practically unchanged on the day, with a marginal increase of just 0.06% to 1,613 points. The smallest ship size, the Handysize market has kept on rising with the relative Baltic index, being up by 1.12% to 630 points. By contrast, the Panamax market was down by 1.23%, while the Supramax was once again on the downside, retreating by 0.36% to 1,105 points.
In a relative note, Commodore Research & Consultancy said that Chinese coal imports have set another record as the company’s analysts had predicted. “Preliminary data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows that China imported 23.9 million tons of coal in April. This is 2.5mt (12%) more than was imported in March and 12.8mt (115%) more than was imported in April 2011. China's previous monthly coal import record was 22.4mt imported in November 2011. Going forward, we continue to anticipate that Chinese coal imports will set additional records this year. For July, we expect coal exports will exceed 25mt. Overall, we remain very bullish regarding upcoming prospects for Chinese coal imports because regional thermal coal export prices remain very low and Chinese electricity demand continues to surge. The 411 billion kwh of electricity that China produced in March 2012 was only slightly below the record 426 billion kwh produced in August 2011. Chinese electricity production normally peaks by August of every year due to peak season summer demand. In the summer months ahead, we expect electricity production will continue to increase rapidly and will set several new records. Thermal coal will remain in great demand, and we continue to anticipate that coal imports will set a record by July” concluded Commodore Research & Consultancy.
Meanwhile, in the Handy side, “the market remained variable. Fronthaul voyages both from Baltic and Black Sea paid over USD 18k/day. From USG to Cont tonnage would get over USD 20k/day, whilst USG/FE was worth above USD 25k/day. Average of TC routes closed at USD 11502 today and was still USD 1500 higher than similar index for the Panamax tonnage. Pacific market has been weak and falling. For Indo-India, large eco Supra can fetch close to USD 10k + BB USD 150k bss APS Indo. Nickel ore cargoes are not seen in market anymore due to on-going Indonesian ban which has again taken away cargoes and putting pressure on market. Nopac also fixed under USD 10k dop Japan. Indian iron ore market remains quiet with less activity. WCI-China rates around USD 10k and ECI-China around USD 7k.
Finally, on the Panamax front, it noted that “intoxicated by some areas being tight for tonnage, Owners predict an Atlantic market on the rise despite falling indices. Transatlantic rounds from 12-14k depending on position and direction. Some Chrtrs have had a fair challenge to cover fronthaul buiz where levels are around 18k via COGH. Overall the Western hemisphere seems fine tuned with a few fresh mineral requirements and so far limited volumes of June grain cargoes out of ECSA. Fair activity in the Pacific where Owners have been eager to cover a growing list of positions in a sliding 8000 dollar market mid-week. With reduced hopes for a recovery in European economy and a slowly falling forward curve, period interest is limited. Only Owners willing to give wide spreads or options could find period takers for efficient tonnage in the 10k area” concluded Fearnleys.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide