This week the capsize market has been marked by a mix of activities and challenges. Despite a slow start following the Christmas and New Year break, the Pacific market saw two active miners, contributing to a somewhat optimistic sentiment initially. However, reports of a derailment in Western Australia introduced an element of uncertainty, leading to a decline initially of approximately $1.00-$1.20 on C5 at the beginning of the week. The Atlantic market also faced challenges, with a tightening tonnage list and a widening gap between bid and offer prices. Despite heightened activity in the Pacific on Thursday, the market pressure resulted in a further decline on C5, although there was a feeling that the market was starting to find a floor. This appears to be the case with two miners today having to increase their bid to attract offers, resulting in a slight uptick of approximately 30 cents today C5 as the week draws to a close. In the Atlantic, vessel tightness persisted, particularly for tonnage reaching south Brazil within January dates. Limited activity was observed for the first half of the week, but the prevailing tight conditions, coupled with an increase in activity towards the end of the week, resulting in positive reports of stronger fixtures, has maintained a bullish, yet positional, sentiment in the market. Overall, the BCI 5TC has been positive this week, which started at $28,896 and has closed today at $31,497.


Following the Christmas holiday, the Panamax market began sedately across the board, followed by rates coming under pressure from the outset. Downward pressure emanated primarily from a build-up of tonnage, unfixed over the festive period but also from a lack of demand in both basins all week, forcing cheaper levels to be conceded by owners. Following a softer finish to 2023, higher ballaster count from Southeast Asia only compounded to the weaker market. And, with Asia massively unsupported, the immediate outlook appeared extremely bearish; $13,000 was agreed on an 82,000-dwt delivery China for a NoPac round trip but such rate unrepeatable come the end of the week. From the Atlantic, $24,000 was agreed on an 85,000-dwt delivery NW Africa for a long duration trip via US Gulf into the Arabian Gulf with routing via Cape of Good Hope. Some recent period coverage emerged with reports of an 82,000-dwt delivery China achieving $16,250 for one year’s period.


Not surprisingly it was a rather muted start to the New Year after the widespread holidays. The Atlantic remained rather sluggish in the South with limited fresh enquiry appearing and a good amount of prompt tonnage available. As the week progressed, some saw slightly better levels of enquiry from the US Gulf although limited fixing appeared. From Asia, brokers suggested that there was little fresh activity from the NoPac and Australia although there seemed to be a reasonable amount of activity from the South. There was little period action although a 63,000 open China was heard fixed for four to six months trading redelivery Singapore-Japan at $17,000 with scrubber benefit for charterers. From the Atlantic, a 63,000-dwt was heard fixed delivery US Gulf trip redelivery East Mediterranean at $26,000. In Asia, a 56,000-dwt fixed delivery Philippines trip via Indonesia redelivery South China at $12,000. From the Indian Ocean, rates remained fairly healthy, a 64,000-dwt fixing delivery Navalakhi trip via Oman redelivery Chittagong at $20,000.   


After recent holidays, the Atlantic market witnessed large corrections on BHSI this week, with cargo availability limited across the region. On the continent, a 32,000-dwt was fixed basis delivery in Rouen for a trip to Morocco with grains at $11,000, whilst in the Mediterranean a 35,000-dwt fixed from Safi to EC South America at $7,000 and a 38,000-dwt was rumoured to have fixed from Alexandria to Bilbao with an intended cargo of steels at $11,000. The US Gulf also saw reductions as a 39,000-dwt was rumoured to have been fixed from SW Pass to the Black Sea with grains in the low $20,000’s. In the South Atlantic, a 37,000-dwt fixed from Santos to Morocco with a cargo of sugar at $20,000, whilst a 43,000-dwt fixed from Recalada to Venezuela with a cargo of grains at $22,000. Asia was more balanced with an unknown handy fixing from China via Indonesia for a round trip at $9,200 but further information was limited.