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Dry bulk FFA market: It’s no laughing matter

Dry bulk FFA market: It’s no laughing matter
It may have been April Fool’s Day and the end of Q1 but there was little to laugh about in the freight market. As iron ore sank below $50 a tonne despite some weak attempts at stimulus, the industry returned from CMA in Connecticut to find the market definitely in need of a miracle or two and perhaps some resurrection.

Capesize paper began the week a little more optimistic with buyers lifting offers and a slightly more bullish feel. Volumes were small and the initial gains were quickly capped. That turned into more pressure at the front end which finally impacted the back end, Cal 16 crashing through support with no sign of a bounce.

Large volume was transacted on Thursday despite rates going nowhere and physical quiet ahead of Easter, rates easing but buyers evident for most of the day at lower levels.

Panamaxes were caught in a lull with easier sentiment and drifting lower though not by much. Further out, the lack of period interest was adding further anxious fuels. More pressure ensued with the curve gradually offered lower with a tone that seemed unlikely to change.

Softer again Thursday with Q4 breaking support and Cal16 testing it we settled into a tight range for most of the day.

Some early support on prompt supramaxes with April and May trading up but only as far as index time when more offers emerged to push it back into negative territory. Sellers applied more with prompt suffering more losses before some cracks appeared further out.

Weaker as the week ended with sellers chasing a thin bid side with April and Q2 trading down and sellers willing, with the same further out we saw rates offered lower but only thin trading materialise as buyers seemed happy to wait and see how low we can go after the Easter Holidays.