Spot rates fell steadily across dry bulk shipping over the course of the week as a result of a perfect storm of spiking bunker prices, falling demand and partying by shipowners.
The Baltic Exchange’s Capesize 5TC, which averages spot rates for five key routes, slid 19% since 1 June to $19,665 per day on Friday, while the Panamax 5TC dropped 17.5% to $23,662 per day. The exchange did not track spot rates on 2 and 3 June because the UK was celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s 70th jubilee.
“With the large Posidonia event currently being held in Greece, this week’s attention is surely distracted, while next week it should be back to all hands on deck,” analysts wrote in their weekly wrapup on the dry bulk market.
At the same time, China’s latest Covid-19 lockdown temporarily slammed the country’s iron ore demand, and India held off on coal imports as it braces for monsoons.
Australian mining giant Rio Tinto on Friday hired an unnamed capesize to carry 170,000 tonnes of iron ore at $12.45 per tonne from Dampier, Australia, to Qingdao, China, after the ship gets loaded from 25 to 27 June.
That’s better than the previous last-done fixtures of two unnamed capesizes hired on 31 May to carry ore from Western Australia to Qingdao.
Contango Shipping fixed one at $12.75 per tonne and Pacbulk Shipping hired the other at $12.90 per tonne.
Bids for voyage charters also stayed low as charterers tried to entice panicked owners into confirming as owners focused on the Posidonia parties, shipbroker Barry Rogliano Salles (BRS Group) said.
“A grey cloud lingered once again over the North, as paper and physical both saw further losses,” the shipbroker said in a report on Friday.
“With most expecting a weaker market in the coming days and into next week, owners took it upon themselves to close shop and wait for this cloud to blow over.
“All in all, the forecast looks bleak for owners, with an injection of fresh stems seemingly the only way to correct sentiment.”
Spot rates for the smaller bulkers also declined in the same period as dry bulk shipping dealt with more expensive bunkers that kept some charterers on the sidelines.
For example, the global 20-ports average price for very-low-sulphur fuel oil jumped 7.4% to nearly $1,120 per tonne, according to Ship & Bunker.
That helped push the slump in panamax rates, while the Supramax 10TC rate basket also dropped 6.6% to $27,440 per day on Friday.
“With many people away from their desks due to Posidonia, the market in many areas saw a change in direction as rates from key areas such as the US Gulf and East Coast South America fell away,” Baltic Exchange analysts wrote in their commentary on the panamax sector.
“From Asia limited fresh enquiry also appeared from the south but further north limited support remained for backhaul runs.”