Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

feedburner count

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shipping Index Rises to 7-Month High as Chinese Demand Advances

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping costs for commodities, rose to a seven-month high in London on accelerating Chinese demand for iron ore. China’s imports of iron ore, used in steelmaking, jumped 33 percent in April, setting a record for a third month, the customs office said last week. The nation, the world’s biggest steel producer, is stockpiling commodities as part of a reallocation of its sovereign wealth, Brian Jackson, senior strategist at the Bank of Canada in Hong Kong, said yesterday.
“This will continue for at least one year,” Nobu Su, founder of Taipei-based commodities shipping line TMT Co., said by phone from London today. “It’s a natural hedge, so they are buying commodities.”
Chinese demand is compensating for a slump elsewhere, with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris predicting a 13 percent drop in world trade volumes this year. Ships carry about 90 percent of world trade, according to The Round Table of International Shipping Associations.
The index tracking transport costs on international trade routes added 39 points, or 1.5 percent, to 2,644 points, according to the Baltic Exchange. That’s the highest since Oct. 8 and marks a 13th consecutive advance. Rentals climbed for every class of ship tracked by the bourse.
Nobu Su on April 1 said the index had “hit bottom” and would advance. The gauge has gained 68 percent since then. The index plunged 92 percent last year, its worst performance in at least two decades.
Amassing Commodities
China’s amassing of commodities is “definitely happening,” Michael Gaylard, London-based strategic director at broker Freight Investor Services Ltd., said by phone today. “They are building up some stockpiles right across the commodity spectrum, from base metals to coal.”
China increased crude-oil imports in April by 13.6 percent from a year earlier because of government plans to boost stockpiles of the fuel to 60 to 90 days.
“We’ve seen a lot of cargoes,” said Su, whose company controls a fleet of about 130 vessels that mostly transport coal, ore and grain. Demand has mainly come from India and China, he said.
Rental rates for iron ore-carrying capesize vessels, the largest monitored by the bourse, advanced 2.1 percent to $36,113 a day. Panamax rentals added 0.6 percent to $20,239 a day.
Forward freight agreements, contracts indicating future shipping costs, traded at $26,750 to $27,000 a day on capesize vessels for the third quarter as of 1:30 p.m. in London, according to Gaylard. They closed yesterday at $27,594, Baltic Exchange data show.
FFAs for panamax vessels over the same period traded at about $14,750 a day, from $15,038 yesterday.
Source: Alaric Nightingale, Bloomberg