Tuesday, 03 July 12 DRY BULK MARKET INCHED FORWARD AT THE START OF THE WEEK - NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU, HELLENIC SHIPPING
The dry bulk market inched forward at the beginning of the new week, prior to the US holidays regarding the celebration of the 4th of July, which is bound to keep the market a bit on the lull side. Still, the industry’s benchmark, the BDI (Baltic Dry Index) was up by 9 points on Monday to 1,013 points, further establishing its position above the “psychological” mark of the 1,000 points. The biggest leader of the new rise was the Capesize market, with the Capesize Index up by 14 points, to 1,204. Small gains were also evident in both the Panamax and the Supramax segments, with the Handysize market remaining stable versus the Friday’s closing.
In a report last week, DVB Bank mentioned that the BDI’s average during 2011 was 1,529 points, which in turn was 44% below the 2010 average of 2,758 points. So far in 2012, the average is below 950 points and is indicative of the dire position that the market has found itself, as oversupply has “drowned” freight rates. DVB sees a sustained downward trend, stating that even delays caused by port delays and congestions and an increase in demand for dry bulk commodities, haven’t been enough to help absorb the new tonnage which is entering the market at a frenetic pace.
It’s worth noting that so far this year a total of of 529 vessels, representing 44.4 million dwt have already been delivered. Another 1,148 vessels of 93.5 million dwt are scheduled for delivery until the end of 2012. This is about 58% of the current orderbook, which stands at 2,001 vessels of 161.3 million dwt, which in turns represents about 25.8% of the current fleet. As a result, asset values as well as earnings are not expected to recover anytime soon. DVB stated that "we may see the markets bottom by the end of 2013 and remain flat thereafter. However, this is subject to owners not indulging in more newbuilding contracting if they see a seasonal spike in freight rates".
According to the research report, the fleet of dry bulk carriers now stands at 9,251 vessels with a total carrying capacity of 625.5 million dwt. The average age of the fleet is about 11 years and 61.8% of the fleet is less than 10 years of age. In addition, the average age of vessels less than 10 years of age is merely 3.1 years – an extremely young fleet. In dwt terms, Large Capes constitute the largest portion of current fleet while Panamax size vessels have the largest orderbook. The ULBC size range (280K+ dwt) is expanding rapidly and mainly consists of the 400k+ Vale vessels. Thus far, 11 of these behemoths have delivered. In its report, DVB mentioned that "these massive 400K+ dwt vessels will have a negative impact on asset values as well as freight rates not only for this Sub-Sector but for all smaller Sub-Sectors (VLBC, Large Capes and Small Capes) as well. Each of these Valemax vessels can replace about 2.3 three Large Capes from the market, all other things being equal" it mentioned.
In a separate note, Commodore Research & Consultancy noted that the latest Tropical Storm Doksuri, was expected to make landfall near Hong Kong and should bring even more torrential rainfall in southern China. “Southern China (which is where the majority of China's hydropower is produced) has recently received a very large amount of rain. Last week, the vast majority of southern China received at least 85 millimeters of rain, with some areas receiving as much as of 150mm. This was an extremely large amount. In comparison, all of China received an average rainfall of 68.5mm of rain in May. Chinese hydropower production is poised to continue to rise, which will put added pressure on Chinese thermal coal demand. Chinese demand for imported thermal coal cargoes has remained low and is poised to stay low for the next several weeks. Chinese hydropower production totaled 66.5 billion kilowatt hours in May, which was 22.7 billion kwh (52%) more than produced in April and 15.1 billion kwh (29%) more than produced in May 2011. For June, we expect hydropower production will end up totaling between 70 to 80 billion kwh. In July, hydropower production stands a good chance of setting a new record. The current record is 82.7 billion kwh produced in July 2010.
Going forward, Chinese thermal coal demand is poised to stay low in the near term due to the ongoing surge in Chinese hydropower production (and also due to the robust amount of coal that remains stocked at Chinese ports and power plants)” concluded Commodore Research & Consultancy. Source: Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping
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