Friday, February 06, 2009
Friday, 06 February 2009
The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping costs for commodities, posted its longest winning streak since May 2007 as demand for iron ore cut the number of vessels available for hire. The index tracking transport costs on international trade routes rose 182 points, or 14 percent, to 1,498 points, according to the Baltic Exchange. That's the highest since Oct. 16 and all vessel classes gained. The index advanced 15 percent yesterday, the most since at least 1985.
“Activity has gradually been working its way through the queue of ships available,” to a point where the fleet is almost fully utilized, Kjetil Sjuve, dry cargo department manager at Lorentzen & Stemoco AS in Oslo, said by phone today.
The number of available capesize ships that typically haul iron ore, a steelmaking raw material, has fallen to almost zero, Oslo-based shipbroker Fearnley Fonds ASA said yesterday. As much as a quarter of the fleet may have been at anchor two months ago as shipping rates collapsed to below operating costs.
Chinese steel makers may be replenishing iron-ore stockpiles that by mid-January were 22 percent lower than the record set in September. The main iron ore routes to China, from Tubarao, Brazil and Western Australia are at the highest since October.
The steel industry accounts for almost half of all dry-bulk cargo at sea, according to shipping line Golden Ocean Ltd.
Daily rates for capesizes jumped 21 percent to $26,495 a day, the biggest gain since Dec. 12. Smaller panamax ships, the largest to fit through the locks of the Panama Canal, increased 13 percent to $9,040 a day.
Daily operating costs are $6,500 for capesizes and $5,000 for panamaxes, according to Erik Nikolai Stavseth, an analyst with shipbroker Lorentzen & Stemoco in Oslo. Both ships compete to haul coal and iron ore.
Capesize forward freight agreements, derivatives used by traders to bet on future shipping rates, rose 7.5 percent to $32,750 a day for the second quarter as of 3:15 p.m. in Oslo. Panamax futures increased 0.2 percent to $16,750 for the same period. The data are from broker Imarex NOS ASA.