THE BALTIC Dry Index ended this past week at 1701 on Friday (29 September).
This was an increase of 5.4% on Monday’s index of 1614.
However, Friday’s index was a decrease on a peak of 1752, hit on Wednesday (27 September).
This week the cape market has been marked by varying levels of activity and changing sentiments. At the beginning of the week, the Pacific market showed promise for owners, with support from East Coast Australia coal cargo contributing to a positive outlook and two major players driving momentum, from West Australia to China, resulting in a modest uptick in rates. Midweek, both the Pacific and Atlantic regions saw active engagement, leading to rate increases, particularly in C5 and the North Atlantic, due to tighter availability contributing to positive fixtures. However, towards the end of the week, the Pacific market experienced a dip in rates and activity, with a negative influence from the FFA market. In the Atlantic, there was a noticeable shift in sentiment, with charterers reducing bids, potentially driven by owners seeking coverage before upcoming holidays, encompassing Mid-Autumn Festival and Golden Week. Overall, it has been a week of mixed dynamics and evolving market conditions.
A mixed week for the Panamax sizes, the Atlantic generally well supported in the north whilst from South America it returned overall an underwhelming week by comparison. Solid levels of mineral demand were duly backed up by some fresh US Gulf stems on the fronthaul runs, rates for trans-Atlantic peaked at US$19,500 midweek and appeared to taper away as the weekend approached, but with a tight tonnage count, the general feeling was much of the same for next. It was a lethargic Pacific market, perhaps due to anticipation of impending golden week holidays. A scrubber fitted 82,000-dwt conceding low US$15,000’s midweek for a NoPac trip, but this represented a one off with levels of US$13,000 more akin to true market value. Indonesia coal demand diminished week on week with smaller/older types discounting rates to cover prior to Asian holidays. Period news included an 82,000-dwt type delivery Korea achieving US$13,500 basis 8/10 months.
Negative sentiment crept into the Atlantic, with declining levels of cargo availability and a general slowing of activity across both basins. In the South Atlantic a 58,000-dwt fixed from Santos to South East Asia at US$15,750 plus a US$575,000 ballast bonus whilst a 61,000-dwt fixed from North Brazil to West Coast Central America at US$26,000 to a grain house. The US Gulf was said to have lost momentum after a bright start, where a 63,000-dwt fixed from SW Pass to Arabian Gulf-India range at over US$30,000 whilst later in the week similar vessels were being bid in the upper US$20,000’s. Asia saw activity slow as many took early cover with a 58,000-dwt fixing from North China for a round trip via the Philippines at US$16,000 whilst a 58,000-dwt opening In Thailand fixed via Indonesia to Cambodia at US$14,500. Period interest had remained active, with a 63,000-dwt fixing for a minimum of 100 days to about five months at US$17,000.
A mixed week across the handy sector which lost momentum as activity slowed after a bright start. The South Atlantic was still experiencing a lack of cargo availability and numbers continued to soften with a 36,000-dwt fixing from Santos to Morocco at US$12,250, whilst a 30,000-dwt opening in Luanda fixed via Abidjan to China in the low teens. In the US Gulf, a 38,000-dwt fixed from the Mississippi to NC South America at US$16,000. The Mediterranean also saw activity slow and a 35,000-dwt opening in Gabes was fixed basis passing Çanakkale for a trip to the US Gulf at US$15,500. On the Continent, a 39,000-dwt fixed from Rotterdam to WC South America with an intended cargo of fertiliser at US$19,000. With upcoming holidays in China, the Asia markets also slowed. A 38,000-dwt opening in Xiamen fixed a trip via Australia to China at US$12,000 and a 32,000-dwt fixing from Taiwan via Indonesia to the Philippines at under US$9,000.
LR2 freight levels have appeared to have been somewhat unsettled this week with no clear direction. TC1 has bubbled around the WS130-135 level with Baltic TCE hovering around the US$24,000/day round trip. Meanwhile a run to the UK-Continent on TC20 took a less than 1% dip to US$3,825,000.
West of Suez, Mediterranean/East LR2’s saw a circa US$70,000 rise on the TC15 index to creep over the US$3,000,000 mark to US$3,016,000.
In the MEG, LR1s weakened a little which was uprising considering the market around them. TC5 shed 4.68 points to WS155.63 and a TC8 run to the UK-Continent remained around the US$3,400,000 level.
On the UK-Continent, after holding resolute for the last few weeks, TC16 finally saw a drop due to a couple of fixtures reported at WS155 late in the week. The index dipped to its current WS157.50 (-8.13).
MEG MRs were tested down relatively harshly this week and we saw the TC17 index lost 48.57 points to WS212.86 with WS210 widely reported on subjects.
UK-Continent MRs have had just enough activity to prevent a major downturn this week. The TC2 index lost around 10 points early in the week to the low WS180s and has since stabilised in the mid 180s for the balance of the week. TC19 has as usual followed the same pattern just with its usual circa 10 points premium to TC2.
In the USG MRs redemonstrated their notable characteristic of dramatic rises and falls this week. TC14 peaked at WS162.5 mid-week, climbing 60% in two days to then resettle back down to WS122.5 48 hours later. TC18 also followed the same trend, spiking at WS259.29 mid-week (up from WS185) to then return back to WS222.50 at time of writing. A trip to the Caribbean on TC21 topped out at US$1,100,000, nearly double what it started at the beginning of the week and has since gone back down to US$891,000.
The MR Atlantic Triangulation Basket TCE gained US$3,344 to US$24,972.
In the Mediterranean, Handymax’s took a hit to the tune of 94.45 points for the TC6 index which is currently marked at WS204.44. Up on the UK-Continent, the TC23 index pushed up a resounding 44.45 points to WS237.78 taking Baltic TCE for the run over the US$30,000/day level.
The market was calm this week. The assessed rate for 270,000mt Middle East Gulf to China remains at WS50.71 corresponding to a daily round-trip TCE of US$21,812 basis Baltic Exchange’s vessel description. The 280,000mt Middle East Gulf to US Gulf trip (via the cape/cape routing) is steady around the WS26-27 level.
For the Atlantic market, the 260,000mt West Africa/China rate was flat at WS52-53 region (which shows a round voyage TCE of around US$24,600/day). The rate for 270,000mt US Gulf/China, with a number of deals falling through on subjects, has fallen US$427,778 to US$8,022,222 (US$25,967/day round trip TCE) perhaps demonstrating the fragile sentiment of this market.
Suezmaxes in West Africa continue to struggle, with the rate for the 130,000mt Nigeria/UK Continent trip going sideways this week at WS67.5 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$12,000). In the Mediterranean and Black Sea region, the 135,000mt CPC/Med route was held again at the WS70-72.5 level (showing a daily TCE of US$6,800 round-trip). In the Middle East, the rate for 140,000mt Middle East Gulf to the Mediterranean fell six points to WS55.
In the North Sea, the rate for the 80,000mt Cross-UK Continent route is stuck for the time being at WS91-92 (showing a negative round-trip daily TCE of about -US$1,900 basis Hound Point to Wilhelmshaven). In the Mediterranean market, the rate for 80,000mt Cross-Mediterranean fell back seven points to just below WS107 (basis Ceyhan to Lavera, that shows a daily round trip TCE of about US$15,500), with sentiment described as weak, so a further drop is expected.
Across the Atlantic, the market was pancake-like with rates staying the same all week. The rates for 70,000mt East Coast Mexico/US Gulf and 70,000mt Covenas/US Gulf were steady at around the WS80-81 level (a round-trip negative TCE of -US$3,200 and -US$363/day respectively). The rate for the trans-Atlantic route of 70,000mt US Gulf/UK Continent were in line with last week’s rate at between WS90-91 (a round trip TCE basis Houston/Rotterdam of US$7,023/day). There is an unconfirmed report at the time of writing that a TD25 voyage paid WS95 last night; it remains to be seen if this is correct and repeatable.
A small increase in the availability of tonnage in the Atlantic, in part due to the lack of an incentive to ship cargoes as a reduction of TTF gas pricing going into November, has caused sentiment to weaken slightly. There is an unconfirmed report at time of writing that a 174,000 CBM 2-stroke has fixed trans-Atlantic at numbers significantly below last done, which will have a corresponding (or more) effect of the 160,000 CBM market.
BLNG1g Aus-Japan has modestly fallen this week to end up at US$186,069, about US$6,000 less than a week ago. The Atlantic market moved in a similar fashion early on, BLNG2g US-UKCont falling almost US$5,000/day on Tuesday and then tumbling a further US$19,000/day today to US$170,509. Meanwhile, US-Japan BLNG3g saw a similar loss with the rate ending up today at US$195,791, US$29,000 less than a week ago.
The gas market took a firm downturn this week seeing a steady fall after an early week cargo reported done at a US$168.5 Baltic LPG1 equivalent and available tonnage said to be accumulating. BLPG1 Ras Tanura-Chiba lost US$24 over the week to close at US$159.46 rendering a daily TCE earning of US$148,186, over US$27,000 less than at the start of the week.
For the US market activity levels have been similarly low to the Middle East. BLPG2 Houston-Flushing ended up settling at US$134.20 following a fixture reported earlier in the week at US$150. Available units have also been reported to be increasing in the region and despite the ongoing Panama Canal delays the BLPG3 index shed US$18.43 to US$253.29 taking the round trip Baltic TCE to just over the US$140,000/day mark.