Bulker Update by BMTI’s London Shipbroker (12 Aug 2020)

bulk carrierIt’s been a quiet start to the week for the Capesizes. Some activity on trans-Atlantic routes and a re­stricted tonnage supply have kept rates steady from the North Atlantic. On the front haul market, bro­kers heard levels being discussed out of Brazil were showing some improvement despite brokers report­ing a lengthy list of ballasters but fixture details were not forthcoming. A long weekend in Singapore has seen a slower start to the week in the Pacific. Rates appear to have softened against the backdrop of low activity but brokers remained hopeful that more en­quiry will be forthcoming later in the week, West Australia to Qingdao was heard to have fixed in the low US$ 8s/mt for end August dates.

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BMTI Handy Bulk Update (06 Aug 2020)

Handysize bulkerUltra-Supramax vessels off the Continent have been making very little progress, if any. Scrap charterers took a Supra at US$ 11,250 daily whilst Ultramax tonnage for loading Baltic for East Med is worth around US$ 12,000. The rate for a trip to S.Africa on 63,000 dwt is hovering around US$ 13,500 daily and the US$ 11,000 daily Ultra tonnage was bid for a trip to Brazil is not to be sniffed at. Also, Handysize owners want their rates to improve and are showing US$ 11,750 daily on 38,000 dwt tonnage for a trip from Rouen to Algeria. The US$ 9,000 rate on a 32,000 dwt ex-Portugal via Baltic back to Algeria seems to support that that they aren’t irredeemable dreamers.

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Dire Conditions Bedevil Black Sea & Azov Coasters (31 Aug 2020)

Black Sea mapHopes that late summer would see a return in de­layed demand throughout the Azov and Black Sea markets have so far been left unfounded. Grain pro­ducers are facing the continued paradox of higher prices countered with lower demand and, thus, con­tinued delays from otherwise dependable buyers. One Azov-based owner has identified a 60% dis­count in current rates (ex-Azov shallow ports) vs. a year ago while the same are some 50% lower than the running five-year average. This situation is clear­ly unsustainable, but owners are being forced to accept unacceptable conditions amid an unprece­dented demand shock and global shutdown. With standard Azov grain rates now merely US$ 1-2/mt higher than their inter-Black Sea counterparts, pro­fits are razor-thin if even justifying the term profit. Grains of 5,000mt (46′) can fetch about US$ 15/mt from Azov to Marmara while the same cargo is unlikely to get much higher than US$ 12-13/mt ex-Kherson to Marmara. Coal trades, while sometimes able to fill the gap of missing grain business, are largely fetching even lower levels with US$ 11/mt on 5,000mt (43′) from Rostov to the Turkish Black Sea. SBM of 3-4,000mt (56′) has been fixed for US$ 12-13/mt ex-Niko to Poti, which represents the standard kind of business that owners are typically able to secure in the Black Sea at the moment.

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Bulker Update by BMTI’s London Shipbroker (22 July 2020)

Ultramax at sunsetThe Panamax market is currently also on a downward trend. Although the tonnage supply in the Atlantic has been quite favourable over the last few weeks it seems more vessels are coming open in the next 15 days, the FFAs are on the slide and the charterers have left the building. In consequence rates have fallen away as owners reset their numbers in order to attract some attention from the charterers. In the Pacific there appeared to be more action and brokers said the cargo volume was still reasonable but it appears the tonnage count is building in key areas so we see rates coming off here too particularly out of Indonesia. That leaves owners with prompt tonnage a tricky conundrum, stay in the area at low money for a quick round or ballast west in the hope that levels here will recover. Australian business still carries a premium, hearing an 82,000 dwt built 2012 fixed delivery South Korea for an Australian round voyage around US$ 12,000 per day.

The Handy sector continues to make headway in the Atlantic. From ECSA tonnage remains tight and a decent spec 32,000 dwt was heard to have fixed with delivery South Brazil for a trip to North Continent at US$ 11,500 daily. From the US Gulf the market remains in owners’ favour and some brokers would now consider levels for a trip to North Continent-Med to be on a par with those obtainable from ECSA. A 38,000 dwt was said to have fixed a trip US Gulf to EC Mexico at US$ 12,500 per day. In the Pacific rates are steady at best. Little fresh information has emerged so far this week although a Handymax was heard to have fixed delivery Mid China for a CIS round at US$ 6,000 per day.

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Handy Bulk Market Update (17 July 2020)

handysize vesselThe chartering market is taking a breather. Hopefully it is not the end of the upward rally, although several sources think the market may have peaked. Time will tell. The present indications are certainly down. Kamsarmax owners dropped their rate for a coal cargo from USEC to India by US$ 2.25/mt from US$ 33/mt to secure the cargo. Also from Black Sea charterers were suddenly seeing lower rates than offered and thus reduced their rate by US$ 0.50/mt from US$ 8.40/mt and had no problem to find cover for a cargo to the Continent.

Scrap rates off the Continent have come off by around US$ 2,000 daily for Ultra tonnage for a trip to East Med. Handy rates are still trailing the larger vessels, with 32,000dwt done at US$ 7,750 daily for a trip to West Med. Apparently very pessimistic owners booked a Rouen/Algeria cargo at US$ 14.75/mt for August dates. Grain charterers were rating 36,000dwt at US$ 8,500 daily to cover such similar stem. US$ 8,500 daily was the rate owners of a 32,000dwt were commanding for a trip to West Africa, ending up in South Africa would push the rate up to low US$ 10,000s daily.

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Short Sea: Northern Europe Remains in Summer Lull (15 July 2020)

Ultramax at sunsetWith the summer holiday season in full bloom market participants discussing the situation with BMTI are running out of words to describe the lull presently dominating the northern short sea market. There is no sound balance between supply and demand with plenty of ships around but cargoes available not very abundant. At least spot freight rates are no longer declining as with the increasing bunker prices coaster rates have to adjust also. Some steels and ore cargoes are seen in the market with a pig iron load of 10,000mt from ARAG being concluded at some US$ 12.25/mt for a trip to Marmara. A steels shipment of 6,600mt loading in the Sea of Azov and heading to 4 ports in Northern Spain was talked at around US$ 33.5/mt and an iron ore load of 5,400mt has been discussed at about US$ 29/mt from Turkish Black Sea into ARAG region. Players advise that general cargoes of 3-4,000mt can see spot freight rates in a range of EUR 14.50-15.50/mt when delivery in mid Baltic and destination in ARAG. From ECUK shipments of some 4-5,000mt are talked at around EUR 11.50/mt at the moment. The flat demand is challenging and a change of trend is probably some more days away.

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Bulker Update by BMTI’s London Shipbroker (10 July 2020)

handymax bulkerThe Handy sector in the Atlantic is seeing better numbers overall. Midweek saw a 35,000 dwt fixing out of the US Gulf for a trip to North Continent at US$ 8,000 daily whilst a 38,000 dwt obtained mid US$ 9,000s per day for a similar trip. A 30,000 dwt open on the North Continent fixed circa US$ 7,000 daily for period redelivery Atlantic ranges. Fronthaul rates from the Black Sea for modern 38,000 dwts are around US$ 15,000 per day. Gains were also heard out of ECSA with larger types looking to fix trips with redelivery Continent-Med around US$ 12,500 daily level. In the Far East activity was subdued and rates slipping. It was rumoured a 30,000 dwt open Central China fixed high US$ 5,000s per day for a trip with steels to SE Asia.

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Bulker Update by BMTI’s London Shipbroker (8 July 2020)

panamaxCapes has seen rates falter in both the Atlantic and Pacific basins. The tonnage situation still remains relatively tight in the Atlantic but the enquiry has thinned noticeably on the fronthaul market which is now focusing on August. The bid/offer spread widened but with the Cape FFAs taking a wobble on Q3 in particular, down US$ 2,500 per day, it may have spooked the market and Tubarao/Qingdao route was heard to have fixed low US$ 21/mt for 1st half August. On the trans-Atlantic routes rates remained reasonably steady. In the Pacific the momentum appears to have swung back in the charterers’ favour for the time being with the West Australia/Qingdao route heard to be fixing around US$ 10.50-10.25/mt level. Time charter rates have also weakened.

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Handy Bulk Market Update (3 July 2020)

Having been pretty excited about the markets general performance, signs of a drawback are emerging. From ECSA grainhouses in all likelihood will use own tonnage to cover August cargoes. Also in the Pacific a downward correction for forward business is already obvious. The owners approach to business is always an indicator of imminent changes, in as much that dropping a trade because of charterers’ low rates, to which the owners return after they failed repeatedly elsewhere, and then being told that the business had gone. Coal shipments from India to China have almost disappeared since China has reached the quota. The next program is not expected before second half August.

As far as ECSA es concerned Ultra owners stand no chance to get any near towards US$ 15,000 daily plus 500,000ls for a fronthaul run, and given that demand is slowing rates will drop as a result. TA was done from North Brazil to Cont/Med at US$ 13,250 daily. Coastal charterers took a 28,000 dwt at US$ 7,750 daily. A 62,000 dwt was booked for a 3-5 months period at US$ 10,500 daily with redelivery Gib/Skaw range.

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Modest Demand Rally in Baltic Coasters (1 July 2020)

short sea ship coaster balticNorthern European coaster business—and indeed freight rates—have fallen to such lows that any mi­nor positive change in demand can be welcomed as a recovery. This seems to be the case, ironically during a historically lull period, for Baltic and North Sea-based short sea vessels. Charterers have been seeking more vessels out for July dates as lockdown con­ditions continue to ease around the Continent. There has certainly been nothing dramatic to point at, but the fact that any growth in inquiry is hap­pening makes for big news in this long slumbering sector. As such, owners are seeking premiums over last-done rates, and there are signs that next week could well see further gains as well. Trans-Baltic freights from the Baltic States to ARAG are seen fetching high teens again instead of the EUR 15/mt range general cargo freight of mid-June. Short trips between WCUK and ARAG are rumoured to have fixed EUR 10/mt on cargoes of 3,000mt compared to EUR 9/mt that was obtainable a week before. Southbound freights from Ireland to the western Med are being reported at EUR 20/mt, some EUR 2/mt higher than two weeks before. The extent and magnitude of this upswing remains to be seen, but owners are hopeful for the first time in some time.

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Bulker Update by BMTI’s London Shipbroker (23 June 2020)

panamax bulkerAfter breaking US$ 30,000 daily early last week only to hit US$ 40,000 daily by the end, Capesize front haul rates seem to be taking a breather with the week starting on low activity but high hopes. Still holding just over US$ 40,000 daily on the assessment, front hauls are rumoured to be in negotiations for the week ahead, despite the mild reversal seen in the post-weekend session. Trans-Atlantic round voyages, meanwhile, long the hardest-hit of the long hauls, remain buoyant with low US$ 24,000s climbing to mid-high US$ 24,000s on modern tonnage.

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BMTI Dry Bulk Commodity Update (17 Jun 2020)

The current commodity price rally is in danger of outrunning fundamentals, Goldman Sachs warned this week, noting that strong downside risks remain in the agricultural and energy sectors. The warning was oriented more towards oil, which the bank has called ‘to much, too fast’ while it allowed that metals markets remain ‘extremely strong’ as recent Chinese infrastructure demands have exceeded expectations. wheat field

Export prices for Russian wheat remained relatively stable in recent days even as grain prices elsewhere, notably the US, suffered bearish pressure after the USDA upgraded its outlook for global wheat pro­duction by 4.9 Mt. Black Sea-based wheat values have been less prone to decline due to ongoing con­cerns about the crop conditions in Russia. Wheat loaded from Russian Black Sea ports is trading at US$ 205/mt FOB this week, essentially unchanged from the week before. Other estimates have the price closer to US$ 206/mt, also in sideways trend. Egyp­tian state grain buyer GASC purchased 120,000mt of Russian grain last week, also buoying sentiment and reducing overall supply. Russia exported 35.6 Mt of grain in the last eleven months, 14% lower than the same time a year ago, according to SovEcon data. State stockpiles are currently at around 0.4 Mt.

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Handy Bulk Market Update (10 June 2020)

handymax bulkerTrying to analyse the worldwide chartering market, you cannot but conclude, that the East is hugely outperforming the Atlantic. This does not mean that every owner is keen to go there, and rather keep staying in the Atlantic. Were there to be a rush to the East, the pendulum after a while would be swinging back. A widely spread rush of tonnage to the East may lead to an oversupply there dragging rates down whilst in the Atlantic the reduced number of ships may spark a significant improvement of rates in the area. In any case, despite the East being the better area, premium rates are still being paid for going there, numbers nothing near obtainable in the Atlantic.

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Short Sea: Bearish Trends in Baltic Trades (2 June 2020)

short sea ship coaster balticIn keeping with the broadly bearish trends across the northern European trades, the trans-Baltic rates have been declining with more or less steady progression with the high teens of early May fading into the middle teens of end-May and owners now happy to accept €15-16/mt range freight rates on general cargoes from the Baltic States to ARAG even as other hold out for last-done rates in the €16-17/mt range. Holidays and summer sluggishness have been the usual culprit for lower cargo demand, but the systemic slowdown around the global pandemic have given nearly every single sector of the European manufacturing economy plenty of reason to justify an increasingly negative bent in momentum for the early-to-mid summer season. Owners and charter­ers—let alone market observers—have been report­ing a wide range of freight values simply because there is so much space opening between demand for ships and available tonnage. There continues to be word of northbound freights in the range of €20/mt from the Adriatic to Ireland, but even there we hear word of owners claiming to be willing to accept €18/mt or thereabouts, the sort of rate that would have been unthinkable for a voyage with half of that duration just six weeks ago. The phrase ‘new normal’ has been overused by every analyst of the shipping economy, but conditions do seem to have entered an unknown reality that require excep­tional solutions to address exceptional challenges.

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Bulker Update by BMTI’s London Shipbroker (22 May 2020)

handysizeThe Capesize recovery is welcome but not everyone is convinced. European holidays make the Atlantic picture in particular unclear although some weaker transatlantic negotiations were thought to be taking place but better rates were heard on the front haul. At midweek, Oldendorff fixed Tubarao/Qingdao at US$ 8/mt but it should be noted these improvements are taking place against the backdrop of rising bunker prices. Brent crude now stands at circa US$ 36 per barrel. In the Pacific West Australia/Qingdao is seeing decent enquiry with all the majors active and there still appears to be a shortage of early vessels that are able to comply with the Australian 14-day quarantine rule. BHP was heard to have paid US$ 4.70/mt with rumours Oldendorff paid US$ 4.80/mt and FMG rumoured fixed at US$ 4.85/mt.

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Handy Bulk Market Overview (12 May 2020)

Ultramax at sunsetCovid-19 is keeping the market under tight control and only in the East-Indian Ocean range is the virus loosening its grip. Rates seem to be improving with Ultramax tonnage fixable at US$ 6,500-7,000 daily for NoPac rounds. CIS charterers have also raised their ideas to US$ 4,500 daily on Supramax tonnage with delivery Japan via CIS to Vietnam. And from the EC India area, freight rates have increased to US$8,500-9,000 daily on tonnage of 56,000 dwt for a trip to China. An Australian round voyage was done at US$ 4,000 daily on tonnage of 32,000 dwt. As expected, rates have also gone up from South Africa with owners of a Tess 58 holding US$ 9,000 daily plus US$ 90,000 BB for front haul to China. The owners have multi­ple choices including US$ 8,000 daily plus US$ 80,000 BB to ECI. It is therefore understandable for the owners to wait and see and monitor the market.

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Russian Grain Regs Spur Black Sea Exports (05 May 2020)

wheat fieldActivity has been lagging in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov trades, but the ongoing tightening of Russian grain quotas and looming suspension in mid-May has caused a notable acceleration in forward selling and export shipments in general. Falling bunker prices are also being credited with giving owners a bit more breathing room in earnings and has given owners reason to keep the market moving sideways even as open tonnage capa­city seems to be holding to just north of breakeven. Grain shipments (5,000mt at 46′) from Rostov are fetching around US$ 19-20/mt to Marmara while the same cargo to the Egyptian Med can secure low EUR 30s/mt. Inter-Black Sea freight rates are stable.

Dry Bulk Market Update (30 Apr 2020)

panamaxDespite the collapsing rate trend in some Capesize routes—notably the front hauls, which have drifted into the US$ 19,000s—there are signs of life in the Pacific giving owners hope for May. Aussie voyages hover at around US$ 4.1/mt, but with the slightest upside suggesting that US$ 4.2/mt and higher may well be obtainable for early-mid May dates. Time charter fixtures have also been emerging with up­wards of US$ 7,000 daily just secured by relet from China and back via E.Australia on a 177,544 dwt.

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BMTI Dry Bulk Commodity Update (23 Apr 2020)

iron ore loaderPersistently poor demand has applied steady and bearish pressure to commodity prices around the world. Iron ore prices have not been spared. Even with widespread suspension in mining operations and force majeure declarations curbing overall sup­ply, a larger lack of demand, particularly by steel mills, has meant that buyers continue to dominate the trade, calling the shots and deciding what prices they are willing to pay. Iron ore inventories are rising to historical levels with stocks reaching upwards of four months long. The COVID-19 outbreak contin­ues to have ripple effects in the global steel industry. Global iron ore prices declined under US$ 90/mt last month after trading around US$ 96/mt in Jan­uary and achieving of high of US$ 120/mt in July 2019. Current spot prices are in the low US$ 80s/ mt range of around US$ 83-84/mt, traders report.

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Handy Bulk Market Overview (17 Apr 2020)

bulk carrierThe chartering market remains a lamentable play­ground for the shipowners who have no choice but to adapt to the challenges, which to meet is almost impossible. Off the Continent, Baltic Sea rounds for Kamsarmax vessels have dropped to around US$ 3,500-3,700 daily. An LME was covered ARAG via Baltic to the East Med at US$ 5,000 daily. Handysize tonnage of 34,000 dwt has allegedly been fixed from the Baltic to the West Med at around US$ 8,000 daily, whilst similar size tonnage has been traded at around US$ 5,000 daily from Baltic to the US Gulf. From Black Sea Post Panamax tonnage was fixed the equivalent of US$ 5,000 daily for a trip to the US Gulf. Handysizes of 37,000 dwt have been taken to the US Gulf as well at US$ 5,000-5,500 daily, which rate is also still applicable for Black Sea-Med trading. Owners of an over-aged 30,000 dwt fixed from the Black Sea to PG-India at a very poor US$ 7,000 daily.

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Dry Bulk Market Update (9 Apr 2020)

handymax bulkerThe spark for the Capesizes is kept alive on the east­bound runs with front hauls hitting upwards of US$ 16,000 from the Continent and up to US$ 17,000 from the US Gulf. The bigger picture, nonetheless, is less encouraging with flat-to-fading trends in voyage rates (Brazil/China is holding to around US$ 10.4-10.5/mt) and growing pressure on the inter-Pacific rates.

Fixing activity is generally down from the start of the week with Easter preparations uderway. Action has picked up across the Panamax trades, but enough open tonnage is still floating around that so far little upward momentum has been seen in freights.

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Shortsea rates slightly declining

The slightly falling rate trend on the European short sea market continued this week. The European Short Sea Index of the sector service BMTI fell by 0.9% to 21.32 points.
Declines on the Mediterranean and Black Sea routes in particular pulled the index down, while freight rates in the Baltic Sea region remained relatively stable thanks to high demand for grain. The index rate for consignments of 3,000 tons from the Baltic ports into the ARAG range remained virtually unchanged at € 25.46/t.
A new forecast report from S&P Global Ratings should provide some hope in the short sea business, according to which the slump in the European steel industry will not be as drastic as in the financial market crisis of 2008/09. Although demand for steel could fall by 10% this year, it is likely to return to the 2019 level next year. Steel is one of the most important types of cargo for mini-bulkers.

Courtesy M.H. / HansaOnline

BMTI Dry Bulk Commodity News (4 Mar 2020)

coalIn February of this year, Ukraine produced more than 2.55 Mt of coal, just 0.2% less than expected. This is according to statistics from the Coal Miners Union of Ukraine in reference to data released from the Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Ministry. In the year to date, asserts the miners union, mining enterprises of all forms of ownership have produced a combined 5.20 Mt of coal or 103% of the target.

After steadily declining for about a month, Russian wheat prices are starting to stabilize, market ob­servers report, with competition from other area producers being lessened in recent days as the euro-USD exchange rates rebalances. Prospects for the year ahead are favourable for Russia with the Black Sea crop now expected to hit 83-87 Mt of Russian wheat, surpassing even last year’s output and far surpassing the 26-28 Mt expected in neighbouring wheat producing country, Ukraine. Weather trends remain positive for Russia’s harvest, claims SovEcon, with precipitation over recent days reported in the Central, Volga and southern regions of the country.

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Handy Bulk Market Overview (20 Feb 2020)

The chartering market in the Atlantic is slowly mov­ing forward. Ultramax owners have been demanding US$ 17,000 daily for a trip from the Baltic to South Africa. Handysize tonnage has been fixed for local trading at around US$ 9-10,000 daily depending on delivery. Olive and sand charterers booked at Han­dysize vessel able load around 30,000mt from Nor­way to Ghent at the daily equivalent of around US$ 11,000 daily. The vessel was getting ready in the port of loading, hence this average rate. A 30,000 coal parcel has been fixed from UK to ARAG aver­aging around US$ 9,500 daily with vessel open on the Continent. A couple of cargoes have also been fixed from Murmansk incl. 20,000mt to Klaipeda at around US$ 17/mt and around 40,000mt fertilizers to the Mississippi River in the low US$ 20s/mt. From the Black Sea, front haul activity has been very limited. The Handy market is not really progressing. Handysize grain charterers still have a good choice of tonnage, whilst admitting that the worst seems over. Fertilizers of 32,000mt from Tuapse to Tema have been rumoured traded at around US$ 22-23/mt.

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Short Sea: Black Sea and Azov with further softening freight rates (07 Feb 2020)

Black SeaThe situation in Black Sea/Azov Sea hasn’t changed in favour of the owners during the last days. Spot freight rates are declining further regardless if the vessels are coming from deepwater ports or from shallow draft ports. A general lack of cargoes is felt in comparison to the available spot tonnage around. Rates for grain cargoes have dropped by some US$ 1.5-2/mt during the last week, other commodities have lost about US$ 1/mt in the same time. Earnings are approaching OPEX levels. Bad weather in the region is hardly any good news in this situation and is expected to endure for quite some days more with possible traffic problems in Kerch Strait and difficult operations in ports. Furthermore according top port agents, since 1 February, owners calling or leaving the ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk will have to pay an ice due of US$ 0.7 per cubic meter vessel volume. Coal shipments of 5,000mt loading Rostov and heading to Marmara are concluded at some US$ 18/mt while same amount of grain and same route is getting US$ 18.50/mt at the moment. Steel parcels of 5,000mt leaving Constantza and destination Poti are talked at around US$ 15/mt.

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BMTI’s London Correspondent (05 Feb 2020)

Stormy watersSpot and forward rates for the Capesizes continue to fall on the negative news surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. Tonnage is inevitably building up, one broker reporting 30+ vessels at Port Hedland with 14 day quarantine restrictions imposed on vessels coming from China. Increasing congestion at discharge ports also noted due to supply chain disruption. On the spot it has been reported West Australia/Qingdao has broken the US$ 6/mt resistance with FMG and Rio Tinto fixing at US$ 5.95/mt for second half February. The Atlantic has seen low activity so far this week with numbers still falling. On the key Tubarao/China run rates were reckoned to now be circa mid/high US$ 14s/mt. Charterers also scanning the market for owners wanting some forward cover and it is rumoured a 175,000dwt built 2011 has fixed 1 years period in the high US$ 12,000s daily rumoured to be to Rio Tinto.

With Panamax rates continuing to fall in both the Atlantic and Pacific there is not much optimism around right now. Hopes of any revival seem to be over reliant upon ECSA grain cargoes. Whilst this year’s soybean crop is expected to be good the harvest looks to be delayed so right now brokers are looking to end February/beginning March for any sizeable increase in export cargoes. So pressure remains and for mid February laycan a 92,000dwt has fixed US$ 13,000 plus US$ 300,000 BB for a trip APS Brazil redel SE Asia. Charterers looking to cover an ECSA first half March position have taken a 77,000dwt built 2004 delivery Singapore early February dates at US$ mid 5,000s per day. As can be deduced rates from Indonesia remain poor. An 80,000dwt built 2011 fixed passing Singapore via Indonesia redel India at a lowly US$ 1,250 daily and an 81,500dwt built 2012 took US$ 4,000 per day basis APS Indonesia for a trip to Malaysia.

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BMTI Dry Bulk Commodity Overview (29 Jan 2020)

aluminiumWorld steel output amounted to 1,869.9 Mt in 2019, an increase of 3.4% from the year before, ac­cording to new data from the World Steel Associ­ation. Regional output declined in all geographical regions except for the Middle East and Asia, accord­ing to the WSA data. Asia, as a region, generated 1,341.6 Mt of steel last year or 5.7% more than the year before with China’s output alone hitting 996.3 Mt or 8.3% more than in 2018. Middle East output surged by 19.2% year-on-year to 45.3 Mt. Turkish steel output fell by 9.6% to 33.7 Mt. CIS output fell by a modest 0.5% to 100.4 Mt including 71.6 Mt from Russia (down 0.7%) and 20.8 Mt from Ukraine (down 1.2%). European Union-based steel produc­tion declined by 4.9% year-on-year to reach 159.4 Mt. Germany again produced the largest share of EU steel or 39.7 Mt or 6.5% down from 2018. Italy produced 23.2 Mt (-5.2%), France generated 14.5 Mt (-6.1%) while Spain produced 13.6 Mt (-5.2% YoY).

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Short Sea – Mediterranean Overview (23 Jan 2020)

mediterranean short seaAdriatic Sea market: Imports have been strong into the Adriatic even as general volumes have slowed over the holidays and yearly transitional period. From Rostov, grains of 5,000mt (46′) can still fetch upwards of US$ 40/mt, though charterers are ap­plying pressure there. Import shipments to Ravenna have been strong with steels from Constanta fixing up to US$ 18/mt, corn of 6,000mt (48′) ex-Reni fixing circa US$ 27/mt, BHF of 4,500mt from Haifa getting US$ 22/mt and soybeans of 5,000mt (50′) fixing around US$ 25/mt. Pig iron on larger ship­ments of 15,000mt from Odessa have been reported as securing freights of US$ 20/mt to Ravenna.

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Bulker View: Glimmer of Hope in Grain (16 Jan 2020)

panamax bulkerGrain activity from the ECSA and US Gulf is offering Panamaxes a glimmer of hope in the Atlantic but this has to be balanced against long tonnage lists ov­erhanging in most areas for the second half of Janu­ary. A 2018-built, 82,000 dwt was reportedly fixed on subs for a trip basis APS Trombetas for a bauxite trip to Aughinish at US$ 15,000 daily. A 2012-built 82,000 dwt fixed a TCT via USEC redel India at US$ 15,000 daily basis delivery Gibraltar. A 2015-built 82,000 dwt fixed delivery ECSA early February for a front haul at US$ 14,500 daily plus US$ 450,000 BB. From the Black Sea, a 2016-built, 81,000 dwt ship fixed delivery Port Said mid-January TCT via Black Sea and China redel Durban at US$ 10,000 per day. Somewhat of a stand-off in the Far East with some better demand from East Australia but Indo­nesia still largely giving only APS rates e.g. a 2019-built 81,000 dwt is rumoured to be on subs APS Indonesia TCT redelivery China at US$ 5,000 daily plus US$ 60,000 BB. Shipowners seem more willing to undertake speculative ballasts towards the ECSA.

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Short Sea Steadiness as Baltic Emerges from Holiday Fog (10 Jan 2020)

short sea baltic coastersThe holidays have continued to linger into 2020 with principals seemingly in no major rush to secure business as long as they can afford to push their requirements down the road. The unexpectedly high momentum that continued into early December and buoyed coaster markets across Europe (from north to south), remains technically in place as far as market fundamentals go, but spot freight trends are looking to move sideways at best into January with charterers expected to start applying more pressure as the month progresses. Owners remain hopeful, however, that adverse weather and their connected delays—as well as the relatively tight tonnage situ­ation of Q4-2019—will keep things moving in their favour for at least another few weeks, but time shall tell if Baltic markets break out of their traditional cycle and do not, in fact, start to slide in January as expected. Northbound freights from the Baltic States to Ireland are fetching decent rates of EUR 30/mt, brokers say, while southbound freights from ARAG (with 5,000mt general cargoes) are securing even better rates of EUR 37-38/mt and higher. There is word, however, that charterers have already secured discounts on those levels for end-month positions.

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