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Freight rates for Capesize dry bulkers remain firm
Source: | Date:2016-04-21 | Browse number:

Freight rates for Capesize dry bulkers remain firm

Freight rates for large capesize dry cargo ships on key Asian routes could stay around current levels next week, supported by stable cargo volumes and firm bunker prices, ship brokers said. “This week isn’t bad. We see support for the market. May and June fixtures are in the $7.50 to $7.80 per tonne range for some operators” for a Brazil to China voyage, said a Shanghai-based capesize broker on Thursday. “All the miners – Vale, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals – are active,” the broker said.

Rates for the Brazil-China route rose to $7.49 per tonne on Wednesday, against $6.73 per tonne last week. That is slightly down from $7.54 hit on Monday, the highest since December 16. Iron ore imports into China are likely to remain high in the second quarter as Australian miners increase shipments to meet targets before their financial year ends in June.

The main driver of the latest market increase has been the high activity from the West Australian mining companies,” Norwegian shipbroker Fearnley said in a weekly note on Wednesday. Capesize charter rates for the Western Australia-China route climbed to $3.74 a tonne on Wednesday, up from $3.51 per tonne the same day last week. Rates hit $3.92 on Monday, the highest since December 11.

There is more optimism in the capesize market for the first time this year, the Fearnley note continued. The slightly firmer rates this week led owners to continue to activate anchored tonnage. “Four or five ships were fixed this week that were idle. We don’t see many hidden vessels now. Higher bunker prices are lending support,” the Shanghai broker said. Shipowners with vessels on the spot market pay for their own fuel and add a bunker premium to freight rates if fuel prices move higher, brokers said. Higher earnings are expected in April and going into May and June, said Luciana Salles, principal trade analyst at IHS Maritime & Trade.

Short-lived rebounds will bring occasional relief to the market. Many questions remain, however, as to when the current situation in the dry bulk markets will give rise to more sustainable rates on the whole,” Salles added. Panamax rates for a north Pacific round-trip voyage continued to firm, rising to $4,611 per day on Wednesday from $4,403 last week. That’s the highest since March 16.

Growth in South American wheat exports should hopefully support the panamax and smaller supramax markets, said Ralph Leszczynski, head of research at Banchero Costa in Singapore. “Exports from Argentina have already increased to the highly competitive Middle East region. Argentina is expected to increase exports to Asia, stealing share from Australian exporters,” Leszczynski said in report on Thursday.

Freight rates for smaller supramax vessels continued to improve but slowing charter volumes had led some owners to believe a temporary top has been reached, the Fearnley note said. The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index rose to 567 on Wednesday, up from 500 the same day last week.



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