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Dry bulk FFA market: Where there’s life there’s hope

Dry bulk FFA market: Where there’s life there’s hope
Few people were calling the bulk market bullish at the start of the week – and not many at its end – but despite the oversupply of dry bulk tonnage dragging on physical, an outbreak of “cautious optimism” in the Asian commodities sector has been detected.

This could just be spring in the air as the traders’ sap rises and in freight it could be more technical than fundamental, but where there’s life there’s hope.

Capesizes saw an initial push up following the long weekend but though index losses were stemmed, there was little in the way of optimistic news from the physical. Perhaps the combination of short covering and appealingly low rates would be enough to support buying?

Sentiment continued to improve in both basins with paper buyers growing in confidence though the mood was very fragile. The close of the week saw FFAs come under pressure on prompt thanks to a flatter Pacific market. The Atlantic side rebounded and the squall left the market quiet but well bid.

Panamaxes opened weaker on prompt with little change in levels but the forward curve continued to attract decent support. With capesizes firmer there was reluctance from sellers to chase levels and there was better buying on the back of the capesizes’ flick upwards.

With the exception of May-June we gradually saw better buying on Thursday as increased Atlantic activity generated improved sentiment. Paper traded within the top end of the current range but more substantial evidence is needed for a real breakout.

Supramaxes started rangebound with another flattish index doing little to encourage movement one way or the other. Despite this, the outlook remained upbeat and the swell of support saw a build-up of bids at support levels which finally began breaking through some barriers.

A positive index on Wednesday helped the forward trend and there was an afternoon flurry today on Thursday which saw rates shoot up unexpectedly. After a flat feel to the open, the positivity took hold, with the back end the favoured area.