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Q1 update shows Pacific Basin on steady recovery track

Q1 update shows Pacific Basin on steady recovery track
Pacific Basin, which has started issuing quarterly updates to bring its numbers to investing public sooner, showed that it is well on its track to recovery even in the midst of the current tough dry bulk market conditions.

Both handysize and handymax average daily earnings of $8,100 and $9,800 respectively outperformed the market by about 60%. Pacific Basin attributed this to its "proven, strong business model with fixed- rate cargo contracts and high vessel utilisation enabling outperformance of average rates especially in weak markets".I

n terms of the rest of the year, Pacific Basin reported that as at 27 March, it had covered 46% of 28,100 contracted handysize revenue days in the remaining three quarters of 2015 at around $9,500 per day net. Meanwhile for handymaxes, 53% of 8,500 revenue days were covered at around $10,100 per day net. Furthermore, the sale of towage operations plus cost savings and organisational changes made in recent months cut total administrative expenses in the first quarter to around $14m, from about $19m in the same period in 2014 despite more than doubling the size of its owned dry bulk fleet in the past few years.

"We are managing our business for a continued weak market in the medium term and are focused on safeguarding our strong cash and balance sheet position," Pacific Basin said in a stock market announcement.

Looking ahead, Pacific Basin said: "While moderately improved, the dry bulk freight market going into the second quarter continues to be weak as sluggish demand fails to fully absorb the oversupply of ships built up in 2010-2012."

It noted that China has been drawing down its bauxite, nickel and iron ore stockpiles, and if official government growth targets remain at about 7%, any potential Chinese economic stimulus to support this target could benefit the dry bulk sector. Meanwhile, demand for many of the minor bulk commodities especially agricultural products, is expected to remain robust in the long term as well as US economic growth which could stimulate demand for construction material which represents Pacific Basin's second largest cargo group.