Friday, 04 May 12 DEMOLITION “KEY” FOR DRY BULK MARKET RECOVERY - NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU, HELLENIC SHIPPING
The overflow of newbuilding vessels which “spilled over” into 2012 from 2011 brought the dry bulk market to a near collapse level at the early stages of this year. Stunned, shipowners were helplessly watching as freight rates tumbled over and over again until the bottom of the market was finally reached in late February. It had taken the market back to levels even worse than those of the later part of 2008, when the world’s trade was in effect stopped, as a result of the global financial crisis, which had as a result the halting of issuing of letters of credit from banks, a necessary document for the movement of cargoes.
In its latest analysis, Intermodal discusses the issue of demolition activity and whether it could act as a “catalyst” to help the dry bulk market recover. According to Intermodal’s Panos Makrinos, “from the second half of 2008, there has been a significant plunge of freight rates which for some market segments has persisted until today. “All parties involved in the shipping industry continually voice that in order to deal with the severe oversupply problem and improve freight rates once more is to limit new building orders scrap older tonnage. For the later solution this would mean that all the early/mid 80’s vessels would head to scrapyards even if they are in excellent condition and well maintained with trading certificates for several more years. The question that arises here is whether this common thinking is indeed correct and able itself to recover the current uncertain market” wondered Makrinos.
He continued by mentioning that “starting from the current levels of demolition, we see that demo price levels are dropping incrementally week by week and the main reason for this fall has mainly been the weak demand of steel which will probably continue to suffer as Europe slides back into recession. This week, Bangladesh was the leader of all demo players around the world as most of the deals which reported for demo went to Bangladeshi scrap buyers at very impressive numbers in comparison with the price levels offered by all other demo markets. In terms of scrap prices, the most recent considerable deal that has been achieved in the dry segment was the Ukrainian built OKEAN type ‘’GOOD UNION’’ with lightship 13.630tns which fetched an unbelievable price at region USD 493 per ton.
On the other hand, the remaining demo buyers have appeared for one more week to have had a very conservative appetite, with their poor performance caused by the fact that they were not in a position to submit offers at attractive price levels. Moreover, it is said that there was a large number of renegotiations that have taken place recently. For the time being, all the cash buyers are becoming a little skeptical and deciding to focus on the tonnage they have already bought and sell off existing units before proceeding with new acquisitions.
Demo prices overall remained at similar price levels as they were in the last week, with wet tonnages to be around USD 425-490 per lightweight and dry units remaining to about USD 410-470 per lightship” he said.
He concluded his report by mentioning that “throughout 2011, we had continuously repeated that despite the very high activity reported in the demolition market during that year, oversupply still remained a serious headache for all ship owners creating uncertainty for the near term prospects of the shipping industry. In addition, the first four months of this year we noticed a large number of vessels being beached, however, freight rates are still remaining at low levels and nothing remarkable has changed. This result points to the fact that scrapping of vessels alone is not enough to provide a balance in the charter market. We will also need to see cancelations of N/B orders increase within the coming months, as well as a more moderate newbuilding ordering strategy by shipowners”.
Meanwhile, “in the The Indian market lost further support this week as offered prices dropped due to the decreased demand noted. Bangladeshi breakers still hold the lead in prices offered, while it seems as though Pakistan was able to cover the gap caused by the softening Indian market. With demand now remaining fairly soft, while the supply of candidates continues to put considerable downward pressure on the market, we could start to see prices decrease further over the coming weeks. This has not ben the case for the Turkish market were we have seen a sudden rapid increase in price levels, likely supported by the firm demand for scrap steel. Prices overall remained stable, with wet tonnages noting levels of around 425-490$/ldt and dry units holding at about 410-470$/ldt” said Intermodal. Source: Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping
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