Panamax coal freight rates weaker as grain activity slows
Panamax coal freight rates on established routes from South Africaâ€™s Richards Bay and Indonesia to India remained stable Friday, with a downward bias, as support from the South American grain season began to weaken, sources said.
â€œVessels are ballasting to the east coast of South America for the grain cargoes,â€ a Singapore-based source said.
He, however, said Panamax freight rates continued to remain weak with time charter rates seen at about $4,500-5,000/day and going up to $7,000/day.
He said freight rates can be expected to fall again next week.
A second Singapore-based trader said he expects sentiment to improve only after the Chinese Lunar New Year.
â€œFresh trans-Atlantic requirements that came into the market towards the end of last week have now been mostly cleared out before the holidays in the Far East,â€ broker Braemar Seascope said in its weekly note on Thursday.
â€œSince then, there has been little replenishment and the market has developed a flat/negative tone moving into next week,â€ the broker said.
Panamax freight rates had risen earlier this week, boosted by the South American grain season.
â€œThings were slightly better for Panamaxes in the Atlantic basin but the positive sentiment waned towards the end of the week, with trans-Atlantic freight rates weakening,â€ Greek broker Intermodal said in its weekly note on Tuesday.
Activity in the Pacific basin was better as cargoes were fixed ahead of the holiday in China, but it is not expected to be sustainable as the holiday season approaches, the broker said.
A growing list of open positions against a reduced number of fresh requirements is the overall tone causing a sliding trend in both hemispheres, broker Fearnleys said in its weekly note on Wednesday.
Platts assessed the daily Panamax freight rates from Richards Bay to Indiaâ€™s east coast at $15/mt and to the west coast at $14/mt, both unchanged from Thursday but up 40 cents and 30 cents, respectively, week-on-week.
Platts also assessed the daily Panamax freight rates from South Kalimantan to Indiaâ€™s east coast at $7.30/mt and to the west coast at $8/mt, both unchanged on-day but up 20 cents week on week.
Capesize market continues to remain at levels similar to last week, the first Singapore-based source said.
â€œThe dry bulk market showed some weakness last week after a couple of positive weeks. Just ahead of the holiday period in China, it looks like activity has been entering safe mode with decreased enquiries for Capes in the East,â€ Intermodal said.
The cyclone in Australia has kept several ports closed and not much activity was expected for the next week, the broker said.
â€œAs the tropical cyclone Oswald has caused force majeure conditions several places â€œdown underâ€ the overall activity looks to be further reduced by the coming Chinese New Year,â€ Fearnleys said.
While iron ore stockpiles at Chinese ports remain low, major Australian miners have been comparatively inactive in the spot market, Fearnleys noted.
Source: The Shipping Tribune â€“ 03 January 2013
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