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New handysize prices stable after 10% year-on-year rise

New handysize prices stable after 10% year-on-year rise
Handysize newbuilding prices are expected to remain stable for the time being after an increase of about 10% from a year ago due to the continuing weak charter market, according to alternative investment firm Uni-Asia Holdings.

The slow charter market has put a cap on handysize newbuilding prices, but prices are also not decreasing after they recovered from rock-bottom levels during the second quarter of 2013.

Uni-Asia Shipping, the shipowning and chartering arm of Uni-Asia Holdings, builds its vessels at Japanese shipyards, with three 37,000 dwt bulkers due for deliveries from the first half of 2015 to the first half of 2016.

“Most Japanese yards are already full until the first half of 2017, so they are not rushing to sell and newbuilding prices have not decreased,” Michio Tanamoto, chairman and ceo of Uni-Asia Holdings, told Seatrade Global.

Tanamoto added that the slow charter market is expected to pick up by the end of this year as vessel supply tightens and imports to China increased.

“Most handysize vessels are old and they will be phased out of the market in a few years time. China’s inventory of iron ore and coal is also gradually decreasing, pointing to high imports towards the end of 2014,” he noted.

“Currently the shipbuilding prices are still not that expensive. If we are able to secure newbuilding contracts at competitive prices we will buy the vessels and fix our charters towards the end of the year,” he said.

Meanwhile, Singapore-listed Uni-Asia Holdings announced a drop in first half net profit for Uni-Asia Shipping, which recorded a gain of $1.05m in the period ended 30 June 2014, down 56% compared to $2.39m in the same period of 2013.

First half vessel charter income registered a 27% year-on-year increase to $9m due to the full recognition of charter income of a vessel which was delivered in late second quarter 2013.

The total number of ships including those on order in the group’s portfolio through Uni-Asia Shipping, shipping fund and joint investment companies stands at 22.

Earlier this month, Uni-Asia Shipping took delivery of a new 37,000 dwt handysize bulker built at Imabari Shipbuilding.