Dry Bulk Market on the Rise

The dry bulk market has grown over the past weeks, as a combination of factors have offered support to the freight rate market. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Xclusiv said that “the dry market definitely strikes back with BDI at 1,944 points, at levels not seen since 10 October 2022 when the index was at 1944 points. So, BDI is at one years’ high and 267% higher than one year’s low of 530 points on 16 February 2023. Cape freight rates are to “blame” for the return of the Bulkers’ market as they have increased by 1,183% from the February 2023 lows. The average 5 T/C Routes for Cape are now at USD 27,445/day, the highest point since 26 May 2022. Panamax, Supramax and Handysize rates have also rebounded from their July 2023 lows, but their move is not as impressive as Capesize’s. The average 5 T/C Routes for Panamax is at USD 14,151/day, the average 10T/C for Supramax is at USD 13,558/day and the average 7 T/C for Handysize is at USD 12,144/day, levels last seen at the end of March 2023”.

Source: Xclusiv

According to Xclusiv, “the low rainy season has benefited the seaborne trade of iron ore. This, along with the unexpected increase of China’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index and the tight vessel supply are the main reasons for this strong upward trend in the market. But there is more good news that create positive prospects as US investment bank Citigroup has increased its forecast for China’s gross domestic product growth this year to 5 per cent, citing stronger than expected policy support and a “clear cyclical bottom” for the economy. The bank had previously downgraded its forecast to 4.7 per cent annual growth owing to “disappointment” over the pace of Beijing’s policy support after a post-Covid-19 rebound fizzled out and a property sector liquidity crisis worsened. Citigroup said in its latest upgrade that it anticipated improvements in industrial production, consumer spending and global trade conditions to boost the Chinese economy and that recent policy support, which included lowering property downpayment requirements and mortgage rates, had “exceeded expectations”, said the shipbroker.

Meanwhile, “in the Ukrainian war side, the re-established Black Sea grain corridor from the Kyiv government is compensating the risky owners that use it with superior earnings. As it was mentioned before, the average 7 T/C for Handysize is at USD 12,144/day but handysizes that visit Ukraine’s ports north of Danube, to transfer Ukrainian grains, are earning more than USD 40,000/day according to market sources. Ukraine guarantees the safety of ships but it is clear that there is high risk from the Russian side. For example a small Turkish-flagged general cargo ship was struck by a mine last Thursday in the Black Sea off the coast of Romania near the entrance to the Sulina Canal. Greece has proposed to join forces along with Lithuania and Croatia and use its ports in the Aegean Sea as an extra corridor for the export of grain, adding another alternative for Ukraine”, Xclusiv said.

Source: Xclusiv

The shipbroker added that “it’s not only the Ukrainian war and its repercussions to shipping that we should consider, but also the Israeli-Palestinian conflict threatening to inflame tensions in the Middle East, which is another wild card added to the “charts”, triggering oil market’s reaction. Since the beginning of the conflict (7th October 2023), WTI and Brent crude futures jumped around 5% to USD 86 and USD 87 per barrel respectively. A significant increase compared to their previous week performance, when oil prices have noted their sharpest weekly drop since March 2023, with WTI and Brent crude futures having lost around 9% w-o-w. On another tone, Russia’s government announcement to lift the ban, imposed 2 weeks ago to protect domestic supplies and prices, on most of its diesel exports, has affected positive the tanker market and especially the product tankers. Russia’s movement to ban diesel and gasoline exports last month had threatened to tighten global supplies. A large chunk of last month’s restrictions has been lifted by Russia’s government with the withdrawal of its bans on diesel exports delivered via pipelines to sea ports, provided that at least half of the fuel produced will be consumed on the domestic market. Diesel prices in Europe fell more than 3 percent, as that move triggered a sell-off in diesel markets. MR Pacific Basket seems to react positive to that announcement, closing the week at USD 37,200/day and gaining around USD 10K/day in three days”, Xclusiv concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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