Tuesday, 19 June 12 SMALLER DRY BULK CARRIERS LIFT UP MARKET, PANAMAXES SET TO FALL SAYS ANALYST - NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU, HELLENIC SHIPPING
Another rise for the dry bulk market was evident yesterday, as the industry’s benchmark, the BDI (Baltic Dry Index) was up for a ninth straight session to 938 points, rising by 14 points. The rise was once again triggered by the smaller ship types, with the Panamax market rising by 16 points, or 1.5% to 1,081 points, with average daily earnings rising to $8,592. By contrast, the Capesize market was once again falling, with the relative index falling by 10 points to 1,138 points, as a result of tumbling iron ore demand. As a result average daily earnings dropping at just $3,377, a multi-year low.
In a relative note, analyst Commodore Research predicted a new fall of the market, which will most likely impact Panamaxes the most. Commodore mentioned that “it might be hard for some to believe, but at the start of the year capesize rates were averaging $23,991/day. Capesize rates quickly came under intense vessel supply-related pressure, however, and have remained below $10,000/day since January 12th. More recently, rates have come under additional pressure due to the ongoing lull in Chinese iron ore demand. While near-term prospects for capesize rates remain bleak - ﬁrst and foremost due to the tremendous amount of capesize vessels that will remain available in the market - a strong case can be made that future prospects for panamax rates are considerably worse” said Commodore.
It concluded by mentioning that “for the second half of this year, the orderbook for panamax vessels stands at roughly 355 vessels, while the orderbook for capesize vessels stands at roughly 145 vessels. The 2013 panamax orderbook dwarfs the 2013 capesize orderbook as well. For 2013, the orderbook for panamax vessels stands at roughly 240 vessels, while the orderbook for capesize vessels stands at roughly 90 vessels. In 2013, the panamax market is poised to become the most oversupplied of all of the dry bulk vessel classes. The 595 panamax vessels expected to be delivered by the end of 2013 represent a growth of approximately 28% on the current panamax ﬂeet. The 235 capesize vessels expected to be delivered represent a growth of approximately 16% on the current capesize ﬂeet. While the story for 2012 will likely remain the depressed capesize market, panamax rates are likely to feel great pain in 2013” said Commodore.
In an earlier note, BIMCO had noted that “the dry bulk market is under immense pressure, as the retreating weight of China as the driver of the market is extensively felt. At a time when supply growth simply breaks new mind-blowing delivery records, the demand situation is pitching in a bit too. Currently, there are reports of Chinese customers in the steel industry that are refusing to honour their contract as prices drop, and stock piles are fuller than normal at a time when steel mills take their foot off the throttle following a red-hot production period in recent months. Current fundamental demand/consumption is not strong enough to support such a high production level. As the world awaits the next anticipated Chinese stimulus package to lift demand, the dry bulk market is scouting for another saviour to get it through the day. Crude steel production in China surpassed 60 million tons a month in both March and April. The monthly average in 2011 was 57 million per month” said BIMCO.
It added that “the first five months average earnings of a Capesize bulker ended at USD 7,013 per day. This is down by 13% as compared to the same period last year that earned USD 8,060 per day. The time charter average has only been above USD 10,000 per day in the first 11 days of the year. The brief strengthening of freight rates in the midst of May unfortunately proved to be short-lived. As suggested two months ago, the downward overshooting of rates was corrected upwards with stronger rates during April and the first half of May, but as the optimism in the macroeconomic picture also began to fade, so did the freight market.
China imports more coal when the price gap between Chinese thermal coal (less a heat discount) and imported thermal coal is providing an arbitrage opportunity (including freight costs). When e.g. Australian or Indonesian coal prices become relatively cheaper, Chinese buyers are interested in importing more coal from Australia, which is good news for ship owners. In 2011 the price gap widened substantially, leading to hitherto unseen levels of thermal coal imports to China. If the price of Australian and Indonesian coal drops below the price of Chinese coal, as has been the case the last few months, we might see Chinese imports get back strongly when coal demand peaks in July. This could make 2012 imports surpass those record volumes of 2011” BIMCO concluded. Source: Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping
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