The capesize market experienced a dynamic week, with distinct developments in the Pacific and Atlantic regions. The Pacific market started the week on a high note, driven by port closures in North China due to weather and the presence of all three major players from West Australia to China, leading to a robust rise of $1,155 on the BCI 5TC to $36,475. Despite a setback mid-week due to alleviated port delays, the Pacific rebounded on Thursday with the closure of three more ports in North China and continued major player activity, resulting in a positive shift in C5 rates. In contrast, the Atlantic faced challenges with sluggish activity, widening bid/offer gaps, and weaker fixtures from South Brazil and West Africa to the Far East. Overall, the BCI 5TC closed the week at $34,107, reflecting the market's regional fluctuations and ongoing uncertainties.
The beginning of the week saw a slight correction across most areas with a good amount of fresh tonnage and limited enquiry seeing rates slip further. The North Atlantic lacked fresh impetus, although as the week progressed there remained demand from the South Atlantic and some saw a tightness of tonnage supply for January dates, which helped maintain a fairly even level. An 80,000-dwt open India fixed a trip via EC South America for a trip to Singapore – Japan at $14,000, while an 81,000-dwt fixed a front haul basis delivery Gibraltar trip via US Gulf redelivery Singapore-Japan at $29,000. From Asia, little excitement as limited fresh enquiry from Indonesia and NoPac came into play. A 74,000-dwt open China fixed a trip via Indonesia redelivery Japan at $15,000. Period action was limited, although an 82,000-dwt open Singapore fixed 6/8 months trading redelivery worldwide at $17,000.
A rather positional week ensued for the sector, but overall sentiment remained rather poor. In the Atlantic, slower demand from key areas such as the US Gulf saw rates slip from the recent highs while in the South Americas, a relatively tight tonnage supply saw rates maintain their levels. From Asia, little fresh enquiry appeared in the north and NoPac regions, which saw some tonnage ballast towards South Asia where cargo enquiry remained steady, but rates generally remained flat. Period activity slowed, with a 61,000-dwt coming open worldwide in February-March 2024 was heard fixed for 13-16 months trading at 120% of BSI. In the Atlantic, a 63,500-dwt was heard fixed delivery West Africa for a trip to China at $32,000 with nickel ore. From Asia, a 63,000-dwt open China fixed an Australian round redelivery Singapore-Japan at $12,00. From the Indian Ocean, a 63,000-dwt fixed delivery South Africa for a trip to India-Bangladesh at $23,000 plus $250,000 ballast bonus.
A week of positivity across the Atlantic with continued limited tonnage availability the main driving force. Late improvements were seen for owners on the Continent, with a 38,000-dwt opening prompt in Rotterdam fixing for a trip to the Eastern Mediterranean with an intended cargo of scrap at $27,000. The US Gulf similarly saw further improvements this week with a 39,000-dwt fixing from Panama City to the UK-Continent with an intended cargo of wood pellets at $30,000. Prompt vessels in the South Atlantic were in high demand and brokers spoke of more voyage requirements for Far East and WC South America destinations, with a 37,000-dwt opening in Praia Mole was fixed for a trip basis delivery Recalada to WC South America with an intended cargo of grains at $45,000 to a grain house. In Asia, the market was more subdued in terms of visible activity and levels remained stable, with a 43,000-dwt fixed from Indonesia to China with coal in the mid $13,000s.