Wednesday, 26 January 11 DRY BULK MARKET TAKES YET ANOTHER NOSEDIVE, CAPESIZES LOOK RATHER UNATTRACTIVE AT THE MOMENT - NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU, HELLENIC SHIPPING
The downturn of the dry bulk market sees no boundariers, disproving even those who thought that at least for the capesize market, the worst had passed. As it turned out yesterday, it hadn’t. The industry’s benchmark, the Baltic Dry Index lost another 3.94% to reach 1,292 points, with the Capesize segment losing 3.05%. But, it was the Panamax market that tumbled the most yesterday, by a whopping 5.08% on a daily basis.
Accroding to a report from BIMCO’s shipping analyst Peter Sand, the current weakness in the Capesize won’t go away anytime soon. “Capesize rates have defied gravity on the back of strong demand for particularly coal but also for iron ore during 2010. This has neutralized some of the downside effects from the heavy inflow of new tonnage into the market. Last year alone, the Capesize fleet grew in numbers by 200 and tonnage wise by 22% and the forecast for this year is an equally challenging supply side growth. With dry bulk demand in 2011 expected to be a little less strong than in 2010 – the freight rate outlook for the Capesize segment is a bit bleak. 20 new Capesize vessels have already joined the fleet in 2011 and with ongoing weather related disruptions not only in Australia – volumes and shipments will be too few to support a significant rate rebound over the coming months” said Sand.
In a separate note, Paris-based shipbroker Barry Rogliano Salles said that “there are some hopes for an increase in activity following the gradual resumption of coal exports in Australia. At the moment Aussie-China rates appeared to have plateaued around US$6.75. Monday saw another small drop in the BCI, while in the FFA market all periods came off with declines greatest for February and March prices”.
BIMCO’s analysis indicated that there are currently 110 Capesize vessels sitting outside the Australian east coast, something which in any other normal case, would be regarded as a healthy picture in terms of freight rates, as actual supply is recuded. “But this time around it merely spells out the trouble and indicates what’s in sight for the large vessels in 2011. Orderings of new Capesize vessels have come relatively down as only 31% of all dry bulk orderings were Capesizes last year. This compares to a relative portion of 50% in the year 2006-2009. Since Capesize freight rates fell below USD 13,000 per day the daily negative change has slowed down and Capesize rates might rest within the interval of USD 7,000-13,000 per day in coming months. As a clear illustration of how bad the situation for the Capesize vessels is, all of the smaller dry bulk segments currently obtain better freight rates than Capesizes. As per 24 January, Capesize average time charter rates were as low as USD 8,665 per day. Meanwhile Panamax earned USD 12,725 per day, Supramax USD 14,789 per day and Handysize USD 11,232 per day.
Even though selected back-haul routes have slipped into negative territory, the time charter averages have not gone that sour. In December 2008 when demand evaporated due to the letters-of-credit issues (and the overall crisis – of course) average T/C rates were as low as USD 2,316 per day. This time around demand is strong as indicated be rising commodity prices – so you should not expect rates to dig that deep” said Peter Sand.
He went on to conclude that such low freight rates are disastrous for ship owners, especially those who are trading in the spot market. According to him, ways out of this would probably be massive demolition of older tonnage, vessels being laid-up like back in the 80’es, postponements of newbuilt deliveries to an even larger extend than what we saw in 2010 and hesitation about signing new contracts for vessels. Source: Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping
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