Dry bulk FFA market: Tipping point for freight market to end the bull run

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) was off to a good start this week as the index pushed toward the 1,740 readings, thanks to the positive market sentiments from the higher freight derivative markets.

However, a softer physical Atlantic market and a public holiday on Wednesday, 22 August 2018, in Singapore threatened to reverse the market direction and eased the hike seen in BDI.

One trade source pointed out that there was a lack of shipping activity in the transatlantic market, which may end the bullish run on Capesize rates.

This prompted trade participants with some Capesize vessels in the Atlantic region to consider fixing a front-haul voyage, which further saturated Capesize vessels supply for that route.

The little shipping movement seen in the physical market was later reflected on the paper market at Tuesday, where most contracts were range-bound.

“The C5 appeared to be the only area of optimism in the physical market on Tuesday, as rates pushed to $9.90 per mt while the C3, C17 and C7 were all flat at best.” said a FIS FFA shipbroker.

Moreover, he opined that the 2018 contracts were almost at years high and it will be hard to envisage further gains from these paper levels in the coming days from a relatively quiet Capesize market.

As such, the Capesize 5 time charter average posted at $25,054 on Wednesday, down $272 day-on-day, as the Capesize paper market struggled to find upward direction over a quiet trading day.

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On the contrary, the Panamax paper market gained a steady pace throughout the week, with rates pushing particularly on the prompt contracts.

Thus, the Panamax time charter average recorded $12,500 on Wednesday, up $243 day-on-day, up $436 from Monday’s average at $12,064. Despite the positive paper market, Panamax seemed to possess more potential to reach higher if not of the public holiday on Wednesday in Singapore.

“With the Singapore holiday in full effect on Wednesday, the market was flaccid at best throughout the day,” commented a FIS shipbroker.

“Volumes were good, but we traded sideways with little appetite to push the market either way and hope that the latter part of the week brings some more actions.” he concluded.

Similarly, the Supramax market saw some positive momentum in the market after the prompt contracts pulled back from some losses on Tuesday, with Sept and Q4 trading up to $12,350 and $12,550 respectively.

As such, Supramax time charter average recorded at $11,646 on Wednesday, up $90 day-on-day, and booked a gain of $160 from Monday’s average of $11,486. Meanwhile, the Handysize had a quiet trading day on Wednesday and booked its time charter average at $7,790, up $61 at day-on-day basis.

Posted 24 August 2018

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Contributed by Titus Zheng, Freight Investor Services (FIS)

Contributed by Titus Zheng, Freight Investor Services (FIS)

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