Dry bulk FFA market: Oversupply weighs down freight rates

Tonnage oversupply has dampened the overall freight market outlook this week, especially in the case of the oversupplied capesize market.

Most of the downward pressure came from shipping glut in the Atlantic region, while some slight improvement was seen in the Asia-Pacific region with stabilization of freight rates.

“The physical cape market continues to struggle on Monday as activity in the Atlantic basin is muted to say the least,” said a FIS Freight Forward Agreement (FFA) broker.

Thus, the capsize contracts saw all red with Apr contract became the biggest loser on Monday, trading at the loss of $1,000 to $14,625.

“Volumes were not significant and as the day progressed, an already thin market slowed almost to a standstill.” commented the shipbroker on the Monday trading day.

With an “all red” performance across the various contracts, the capesize 5 Time Charter Average printed $11,206 on Monday, down $348 day-on-day.

However, things started to turn around as the week drawn on, as there were still some forward cargoes in the Atlantic that still demanded a premium, bringing hope for a possible uptick in near term.

On Thursday, such “hope” did flash for a moment due to active trading both in the paper and the physical markets. But this moment of brilliance soon faded away with rumor of a Brazilian miner fixing a number of spot ships for C3. Later, the rumor has not been confirmed and details are lacking but the curve felt bid on the close.

As such, the capesize 5 Time Charter Average recorded $9,869 on Thursday, down $592 day-on-day and posted a loss of $1,337 in comparison to Monday’s rate.

The relatively robust panamax did its best to stay afloat this week, despite under constant pressure from slowdown in shipping activity. As such, March slipped to $12,900 low on Monday, while Q2 retraced to $13,500 support, while further out sellers had to chase a thin bid side with the market coming lower on limited trading. Thus, the panamax time charter average posted $13,034 on Monday, up $74 day-on-day.

“It was a more active trading day on panamax paper for Thursday as we tested resistance at the top end of the current range tested throughout the morning session.” commented a FIS shipbroker.

Later on the day, he noted that the post index had retraced and were once again left relatively flat, which gave in to most of the mornings gains seen on Thursday. By then, the panamax time charter average had scaled down slightly to $12,995, down $32 day-on-day and down $39 from Monday’s starting position.

On the contrary, supramax market gained momentum as the week went by and saw its time charter average traded at $12,119 on Thursday, up $166 day-on-day and up by $465 as compared to Monday’s time charter average of $11,654.

Similar tractions were seen in the handysize market, where the time charter average printed at $9,207 on Thursday, up $59 day-on-day and gained by $149 as compared to Monday’s time charter average of $9,058.

Posted 17 March 2018

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Titus Zheng, Freight Investor Services (FIS)

Titus Zheng, Freight Investor Services (FIS)

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