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Dry bulk FFA market: Never a dull moment

Dry bulk FFA market: Never a dull moment
Just as it seemed the summer was set fair for freight, the market demonstrated once again how quickly events can conspire to deliver the kind of volatility that makes for good trading but does nothing for the nerves.

As it turned out the three major segments ended the week more positively than could have been predicted at the start, so perhaps the summer barbecue market is not over yet.

Capes were feeling the pressure from early in the week, despite no real changes to physical as pressure mounted on iron ore prices and stock market confidence.

If that decline initially felt overdone, further drops in iron ore and rebar saw the freight curve under pressure and bids hit steadily down the curve. Some buying support was evident just above the lows but the mood was almost universally negative.

The frantic pace quietened as the week ended with the market quieter in terms of volume transacted but still volatile. As iron ore staged a technical rebound capes briefly followed suit with gains seen along the curve against a pretty well balanced physical market.

Despite some strong numbers still being achieved in the Atlantic, a slowdown in activity coupled with the cape sell-off saw a drop on panamax paper with Q3 and Q4 sold down before seeing a slight recovery.

Panamaxes firmly caught the midweek cold despite the relative strength of T/A and fronthaul business. The nearby periods continued to yo-yo and by week’s end the market was bid up again with prompt gaining an average $500 before giving way to some profit taking at the close.

Physical remains firmer for early positions with fresh support evident on the front quarters, but the tone remains cautious with the positional nature of the squeeze and a large tonnage list in the Pacific threatening to spoil the mood.

Supramaxes were softer as the segment continued the recent negative move with Q3 volatile and Q4 with the back end beginning to move from its recent stasis. The Atlantic physical market stayed pretty tight and the midweek index showed positive numbers but still the paper slid. There were some stronger numbers on the prompt months and quarters as the week ended with a jump in rates after the recent declines and another positive index.

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