- Activity slows as owners hold firm on offers
- Pacific sees consistent demand, Atlantic supply tight
The Capesize freight market rose in the Pacific basin Dec. 8 on a flurry of demand. The Atlantic market also rose, driven by the Pacific market and tight tonnage availability.
The paper market saw small gains, with positive direction for the physical trading business.
“December [rates] are moving strong but January is not moving up much, which means players think maybe at some point the market will collapse between now till January,” a shipbroker said.
However, in the short term, as the laycan dates for Western Australian mining majors inch closer to the end of 2021, the market could see further support for freight levels, a second shipbroker said.
Fixture-wise, the Pacific market took a breather during Asian trading hours after a busy previous day, though freight levels soared.
Mining majors Rio Tinto, BHP and FMG, along with a few ship operators, were still seeking ships to move iron ore from Western Australia to the Far East for the Dec. 23 onward loading window.
“The consistent high demand has ... [led to] the overall atmosphere [getting] more tense ... with owners more firm on their offers at high $14s/mt to low $15s/mt levels,” a Singapore-based shipbroker told S&P Global Platts.
Meanwhile, coal shipping demand from eastern Australia, Indonesia and Russia was heard growing.
The freight rate for a Capesize to move 170,000 mt (plus/ minus 10%) of iron ore on the Port Hedland-Qingdao route was assessed at $14.90/wmt, up 70 cents/mt from Dec. 7.
In the Atlantic market, exchanges were at a minimum with no fixtures during Asian trading hours, while some strong numbers were printed late on Dec. 7, sources said.
CSE was heard taking a ship to move iron ore from Seven Island to China for end-December laycan, with freight rates reported at $36s/wmt, basis 1.25% commission.
TKSE was heard taking a ship on the Itaguai-to-Rotterdam route for Dec. 31 to Jan. 12 laycan at $16.50/wmt.
Out of Brazil, Swissmarine was heard taking a ship on the Tubarao-to-Qingdao route, for end-December laycan at $30.50/wmt late Dec. 7.
The freight rate for a Capesize to move 170,000 mt (plus/minus 10%) of iron ore from Tubarao to Qingdao was assessed at $29.75/wmt, up 25 cents/wmt on the day.
Out of South Africa, coal shipping demand from Richards Bay was consistent, sources said. Charterer Libra was heard seeking a Capesize ship to move coal from Richards Bay to India for early January laycan after taking one for the end-December loading window.
The freight rate for a Capesize ship to move 170,000 mt (plus/ minus 10%) of iron ore from Saldanha Bay to Qingdao was assessed at $22.25/wmt, up 35 cents/mt on the day.