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

The 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)

Capes 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)

Northern 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)

After 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.

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)

Trying 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)

In 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)

The 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)

Covid-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)

Activity 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)

Despite 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)

Persistently 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)

The 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)

The 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)

In 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)

The 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)

Spot 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)

World 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)

Grain 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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Handy Bulk View by BMTI’s Continental Correspondent (18 Dec 2019)

The chartering market off the Continent has been pretty busy for the larger Supra-Ultramax tonnage. Front haul rates have been reported agreed at US$ 20,500 daily on Ultra tonnage for a trip to China. Even for Baltic rounds with delivery Rotterdam and redely North Spain have been done at the equivalent of US$ 14,000 daily. Ultra owners were rating trips to West Africa at US$13,000 daily with Ireland deli­very. An Ultra open West Med was also competing for the same business at US$ 11,500 with delivery Gibraltar reflecting the poor state of the med market. The Kamsarmax market is in a downward spiral. Trans-Atlantic is now at US$13,000, which line will be hard for the owners to defend. It is likely to con­tinue dropping. DOP rates can no longer be taken for granted for USG business. Charterers prefer to pay a ballast bonus. From the lacklustre Black Sea, grain charterers booked a cargo of about 50,000mt from Ukraine to GNS at the daily equivalent of US$7,500. The USG Handysize market is considered stable if quiet. Coal charterers were fixing a 38,000 dwt ship to Italy at the daily equivalent of around US$13,000. From New Brunswick a 38,000 dwt has been fixed on subs at US$ 10,000 daily for a trip to UK-Continent.

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HANSA Forum: Platou Says Shipping Poised for Best Period in Years

investment[28 NOV 2019] Capital markets have not been overly enthusiastic about shipping in recent years, this past year being no exception, but, according to more than a few finance professionals, this is prime time for a turn­around in fortunes with smart money poised to see solid returns. This is also the opinion of Erik Hel­berg, CEO of Clarksons Platou Securities, who held a convincing presentation in Hamburg at the 23rd annual HANSA Forum for Shipping Finance. “Con­ditions are ripe for a turnaround,” Helberg said, indi­cating multiple reasons for investors to reassess a market that has weathered one of its toughest peri­ods in recent memory. Equity has done surprisingly well in 2019, said Helberg, with the possible ex­ception of LNG carriers, which saw their general performance fall by some 29% year-on-year. But this was the exception that proves the rule, so to speak, with equity returns in the majority of other shipping sectors having shown respectable-to-incredible re­turns in the year-to-date (indeed, shipping as a total entity, rose by 13% over the year). Container equity grew by a modest 5% this year, Helberg showed in a slide, followed by dry bulk with 11% growth and ship leasing companies with 30%. The highest end growth was in tankers, however, with handsome gains of 42%, 73% and 99% in 2019 in the equity areas of product tankers, crude tankers and mix tank­ers.

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BMTI Limited Time Promotional Discount

On the event of the 71st Eisbeinessen Dinner in Hamburg—the world’s largest gathering of shipbrokers and shipping people—BMTI is offering a special, limited-time 15% discount across all BMTI products. Enter promo code EISBEIN on the order form to secure the discount on any BMTI market report (Daily, Weekly or Short Sea) and/or Research Study. This offer is only valid for 15-30 November 2019. Place your order today to take advantage of this limited time offer.

BMTI Dry Bulk Commodity Overview (12 Nov 2019)

Uncertainty looms in the European steel outlook, according to EU steel association EUROFER. A pre­sent “downslide” in the EU manufacturing sector is unlikely to bottom out soon, association director Axel Eggert said in a recent statement, noting “esca­lating trade disputes” between the United States and several of its main trading partners as well as continuing uncertainty about Brexit, both major fac­tors that could continue to have a dampening impact on the EU steel industry. EU steel consumption declined by 7.7% YoY in the second quarter of the year after falling by 1.6% in the first quarter. A com­bination of weakened exports and lower investment has taken a toll on steel use in the European Union, putting consumption at 39.3 Mt in Q2. The stock cycle, says EUROFER, turned negative in the quart­er, contrary to the seasonal pattern, worsening an already negative trend in final steel use. The down­turn in steel demand drove a 4% YoY fall in domestic deliveries in the EU in Q2 after a decline of 3% in Q1. A low-level stabilization in 2020, however, is seen, says Eggert, with an expected growth rate in consumption of 1.4% due to modest re-stocking.

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Maritime Lending Down to Twelve-Year Low (1 Nov 2019)

Bank lending to shipping concerns has fallen to its lowest level in at least twelve years, according to a new analysis by Greek researchers Petrofin Global Bank Research. The analysts say that last year saw the top 40 shipping banks loan a combined US$ 300.7 billion to shipping projects, which was US$ 45 billion lower (or 13%) than the year before and the lowest level since 2007 (US$ 352.3 billion), when the analysts began reporting on ship lending. Petrofin said that some of the reduction in loans was due to major shipping banks still in the process of off-loading their heavily exposed maritime portfol­ios that were critically damaged in the financial crisis. European banks have lowered their shipping expo­sure by 14% in the past year, says Petrofin, while US banks have raised it slightly by 5%. The analysts also noted a strong eastward shift in ship financing with the global share of European banks moving to 58% today from 83% in 2010; US banks account for 6.5% (from 2%); Asia-Pacific banks account for 35% (from 15%). German banks now account for US$ 38 billion in global ship loans (vs. US$ 154 billion in 2010).

Surprise jump in Cape rates as week ends (25 Oct 2019)

Sentiment rules for the volatile Capesizes with the end of the week bringing an unexpected bounce-back despite a nearly complete lack of fresh time charter activity in the last previous five days. Trans-Pacific RV freights—which had suffered the sharpest declines in the week—saw the sharpest improve­ments with around US$ 1,000 added to the assess­ment bringing the rates near US$ 23,000 daily. Voy­ages also benefited from the upturn with predictions of continued declines in the RBCT voyages eastward proving premature as rates flattened at US$14.5/mt.