Dry bulk FFA report: Oh, to be in iron ore, or even crude

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If dry bulk freight market players began this week with any kind of prayer in their hearts it must have been, “Oh Lord, let this market be like iron ore, or even crude oil”. But the deity had clearly decided that this market had yet to log the necessary time in the wilderness.

There was to be no freight bounce, no mini-rally to bring cheer alongside the other commodity markets.

That said, the Baltic Dry Index rose on Thursday for the 10th straight session, helped by steady demand for smaller ships. Don nott go popping the corks yet though, as it managed a gain of just three points to 325.

For an indication of how dire things have become consider the commentary that some wag typed into the FIS Cape report on Wednesday: “At some point in the near future it will be possible to leave this market commentary empty and that alone will tell you what you need to know about the market.” Very droll.

Despite the ongoing physical gloom, paper found some renewed strength from buyers down the curve on Thursday. Whether this was short covering or pre-emptive buying in the hope that March will bring better rates remains unclear but there is certainly a lack of aggressive sellers.

In panamaxes, levels were unsurprisingly weaker but found some fresh support as sellers scaled back. It was still hard to see a breakout of the current range as the easier ECSA outlook balanced improvements in the Pacific.

Despite the long tonnage list, a little more enquiry in the Atlantic and continued optimism in the Pacific led to some better buying. As a result we saw March and April trading up to $3,400 and $4,000 respectively while Q2 traded $4350 high. Post index, a few more sellers emerged at last done nudging us off the day’s highs

Supramaxes had a better week with more support evident and with stronger bids taking out the early offers, Q2 traded higher and March saw the biggest jump of Thursday reaching $3,950. After a positive week, index was a little disappointing but still positive +$78 but the afternoon was quiet but supported.
Source: Freight Investor Services (FIS)