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Dry bulk market is looking to increase

33088 fcras 9/9 2010 08:54

Dry bulk market is looking to increase gains on October iron ore contracts

Thursday, 09 September 2010

The “success” story that the dry bulk market has been displaying during the past couple of weeks is being materialized as we head towards another “winning” week for the industry’s main benchmark, the Baltic Dry Index (BDI).

The index posted yet another rising session yesterday, ending up by 57 points to 2975, looking ready to cross the 3,000 point mark for the first time since June, when the market was experiencing a free fall.

Once again the “star” of the day was the capesize segment of the market, with the capesize index rising by 123 point to 4024, while daily average earnings are now over $40,000, against a mere $10,000 less than two months ago.

In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Fearnley’s said that “the Baltic Capesize index has increased from 3516 to 4024 though the past week.

The average time charter rates have increased from usd 34488 to 40904 in the same period. We can definitely say that the index has been lagging and is under what is being physically being concluded.

The recent rally in the market can be described as re-let driven, and when it became apparent that there were few ballasters towards Brazil, the operators began to react and secure what they could of tonnage.

The fact that Vale came in and picked
up the very early units has compounded the situation and freight rates in the Atlantic, both for front haul and transatlantic routes, are still firming.

On the period front, operators have swept the market and absorbed the available period candidates at premium levels”.

In a separate update on Chinese iron ore demand, Jeffrey Landsberg, analyst with Commodore Research & Consultancy said that “reports have been surfacing of a government push to reduce power allocation to heavy polluting Chinese industries.

Steel mills, in particular, have been targeted - with reports suggesting that many mills will be forced to cut production.

We’d like to point out that current iron ore demand remains very strong.

19 Chinese iron ore fixtures have already been reported this week - this week's total Chinese iron ore fixtures are very likely to exceed the trailing four week average of 21 fixtures.

While it is certainly possible that Chinese steel production may be poised to come under pressure soon, spot Chinese iron ore demand has yet to decline.

If anything, Chinese iron ore demand is showing signs of strength this week, which has been responsible for this week's increase in capesize freight rates” said Landsberg.

Meanwhile, Omar Nokta, head of research at Dahlman Rose & Co, said in a note, quoted by Reuters that “with capesize fixtures for October-load expected to commence in the coming days, we expect increased demand and higher freight rates associated with the new (Q4 iron ore) price."

In a separate quote from the news agency, Derek Langston, a director with SSY Consultancy and Research mentioned that the market last week and this week to some extent is a reflection of improved sentiment as the fourth quarter approaches.

He also said that “we have a situation where steel prices are rising and the prospect very soon of lower contract prices for both iron ore and coking coal."

As for the Panamax market, Fearnley’s said that “a positive trend was seen during this week, with rates climbing steadily.

Especially period requirements were a hot topic, and 2 years fixed at 23250 del Far East, for then to be relet at 28250 for 5/7 months.

In the Atlantic the TA´s fixed in the 29/30k region, up usd 5000 from last week, same jump were seen for fronthaul, fixing in the usd 35/36k levels.

In the Pacific, LME ´s fixing usd 26/27k, up usd 3/4000 from last week. Backhauls were more or less stable at usd 14000”.

Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide