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Asia Dry Bulk-Capesize rates to climb further on strong cargo buying

by June 9, 2016 General

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Freight rates for large capesize dry cargo ships on key Asian routes could nudge higher next week after hitting multi-month highs this week on strong cargo buying volumes, ship brokers said.

Capesize rates from Western Australia to China jumped to a six-month high on Wednesday after remaining flat all week following a surge in chartering activity by Australian miners including Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

On the Brazil iron ore trade, rates for capesize vessels, which typically haul 170,000 tonnes of iron ore or coal, to China plateaued out this week after rising close to a near two-month high on June 6.

That came as iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange held around their two-week highs this week with some Chinese steel producers replenishing inventories ahead of public holidays on Thursday and Friday.

Iron ore imports by top buyer China rose 22.4 percent on year to 86.75 million tonnes in May, China customs data showed.

Thermal coal demand has increased, partly due to supply disruptions, which has also helped the capesize freight market, brokers said.

“I feel next week is still going to be positive, with charter rates going north. The Brent oil price is finding support above $50 a barrel and there is a stable volume of coal cargoes,” a Shanghai capesize broker said.

“Sentiment is firm in the market. I feel the South Africa route has also got very active recently with almost two cargoes a week.”

Around 31 capesize ships were chartered in the week to June 8, compared with around 21 in the previous week, chartering data on the Reuters Eikon terminal showed.

“Cargo volumes are pretty good. Ship owners are in the driving seat,” a Singapore-based capesize broker said, adding tonnage availability was looking tight for the second half of the month.

Ship owners are now seeking $5 per tonne for capesize cargoes from Western Australia to China, the Singapore broker said.

“It’s taken six months for rates to get above $5. All the miners are in – it’s a perfect storm-ish.”

Freight rates for Brazil-China rose to $9.13 per tonne on Wednesday from $8.46 per tonne last week. Rates climbed to $9.15 on June 6, the highest since April 19.

Capesize charter rates for Western Australia-China soared to $4.85 per tonne on Wednesday, the highest since Nov. 30, against $4.31 per tonne the same day last week.

Charter rates for smaller panamax vessels for a north Pacific round-trip voyage fell to $3,864 per day on Wednesday, the lowest since March 30, from $4,378 a week earlier on thin cargo volumes.

Freight rates in the Far East for smaller supramax vessels held around $5,500 per day this week on strong fixture volumes, brokers said.

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index slipped to 610 on Wednesday from 612 last week.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Keith Wallis; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)