Wednesday, 20 June 12 BDI MOVING HIGHER, PANAMAX AND SUPRAMAX VESSELS STRONGER, CAPESIZE RATES NEAR TO HISTORICAL LOWS OF DECEMBER 2008 - MARIA BERTZELETOU, HELLENIC SHIPPING
The dry market seems to follow the dynamic of the previous week with the Baltic Dry Index showing daily increases since June 8th, but is still standing below the psychological barrier of 1,000 points mark. The capesize segment, the main key factor, lying behind the overall positive performance of the BDI, faces tremendous supply issues with average time charter earning floating at levels below $3,500/day. During the Lehman crisis of 2008, capesize average time charter earnings have dipped to $2,318/day on the beginning of December of 2008, from the peak of $233,988/day on June 5th. The levels of 2008 belong in a forgettable past with dry bulk operators finding ways to adjust their operational results in the current weak freight market. The recent slide of bunkering costs, the record scrapping activity of this year and the low ordering activity have eased at some level the pain of the market, but the dry cargo demand is not yet at levels that could remedy the imbalance of the freight markets between vessels’ supply and demand.
Panamax have recently found some support with average time charter earning reaching levels at more than $8,000/day, but they are still below $10,000/day, when at similar period last year levels were at around $14,000-$15,000/day. The increased activity in Atlantic and new coal cargoes from Indonesia have recently lifted panamax rates by 20% from the beginning of June, but there is still great uncertainty about the long term stability of the panamax segment given the outstanding orderbook and the upcoming vessel deliveries in 2013. According to Commodore Research, 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. For 2013, the orderbook for panamax vessels stands at roughly 240 vessels, while the orderbook for capesizes at around 90 vessels.
Supramax and handysize rates are also showing firmer signs from an increased spot chartering activity with levels at more than $11,000/day for supramax units and near to $10,000/day for handysizes.
Near term prospects for the capesize market remain dark with supramax and handysize vessel categories showing a stronger resistance in the current oversupplied market. Chinese demand for imported iron ore cargo has shown weakness in June due to recent decline in steel production and a large amount of iron ore stockpiled at Chinese ports, even the rise of Chinese iron ore imports in the first five months of the year to around 300.1mt, up 9% year-on-year. There is a positive outlook on the rebound of Chinese iron ore demand in the coming month due to government’s stimulus measures in the industrial sector. Chinese demand for thermal coal remains also low, but the peak summer electricity demand is approaching with the government waiting daily electricity consumption at a record of 15.5 to 16 billion kilowatt hours this summer.
As we are near to end of the first half of 2012, the BDI has averaged below 1,000 points mark, at 940 points, compared with more than 1,300 points last year. The dry outlook is not at all optimistic as larger vessel categories, panamax and capesizes, are struggling to perform in the current vessels’ supply figures, pushing the BDI to hover below 1,000 points. The recent upward changes of the index driven mainly from the boosted performance of the panamax size bringing a euphoria that seems that will no last for a long time. Source: Maria Bertzeletou, Hellenic Shipping
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