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Dry bulk freight: hoping for a miracle

Dry bulk freight: hoping for a miracle
There is nothing new about the relationship between religious belief and shipping, but it has, of late, taken on an ever more fervent tone. So much so in fact that even a short week in Europe for the Easter holidays had been interpreted as a sign of divine intervention that might just bring charterers back to the table in numbers.

Sadly, Easter is not the Chinese Lunar New Year and at the time of writing there has been no indication that God is a shipping man in a traditional sense. Owners and traders might be better off putting their faith in human endeavours, though to do so also carries risk.

For example, the iron ore market’s upward swing in the previous week was a welcome short term boost to sentiment in both the commodity and for shipping rates, but neither was destined to last. Instead, Beijing had ordered mills in the Hebei region to increase output before the end of April, after which restrictions would be enforced to reduce pollution during the Agricultural Expo.

So, if there was hope that a shortened week would bring more activity to the Cape market, then these proved short-lived. While the paper market was active, essentially it was business as usual. As physical continued to soften, activity reduced and buyers looked ahead to Q3 (it’s the new Q4). High levels of scrapping in the first quarter have helped to lift the mood in the short term but the immediate outlook remains gloomy.

Previously beset by lack of fresh enquiry, Panamaxes saw more ECSA and T/A business coupled with a little more Pacific enquiry prompt some more buying with a little short covering ahead of the Easter holidays.

Supras managed to do better than their bigger cousins with more support on the bid for April and Q2 – though still at uninspiring levels The index kept a positive mood and there was continued buy interest but with more limited offers.

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