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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Dry bulk market powers through to reach 4,291 points

Thursday, 04 June 2009

The Baltic Dry Index is one again reveling under the spotlight, as the index which tracks hauling commodities like iron ore and coal, yesterday market its 23rd consecutive rise, to reach an impressive 4,291 points, now up almost 550% from the lowest point it reached in early December of a mere 663 points. In fact, in just under a week, the index managed to gain more than 1,000 points and surge from 3,000 points to 4,000 points. This impressive rally has benefited the larger carriers, especially capesizes, while panamaxes have also gained ground. The smaller Supramaxes and Handysizes, although also gained, aren’t yet that high. Tuesday’s session proved remarkable for the BDI which rose by 11.6%, to reach 4,106 points.

Capesizes can now fetch more than $93,000 daily on an average basis¸ with the sector gaining more than $5,000 day-to-day from the beginning of the week. This rise has been the result of China’s strategic choice of investing in commodities like iron ore, instead of currencies, which combined with the fact that the country’s ports have found themselves bargaining for more than they could handle, has caused many delays and vessel queues. This further constrains tonnage supply, increasing freight rates even more. An estimated 70 to 80 Capesized vessels, the largest of the fleet, are waiting to unload iron ore at Chinese ports. Similarly, the number of vessels waiting at Australia’s Newcastle coal loading terminal has risen to 43, the highest for six months.
Although, all this is great news for dry bulk ship owners, some market players seem moderate in their analysis of the future prospects of the sector. The rise has fuelled hopes that the global economy is on track for a rapid recovery. But delays in delivering large numbers of dry bulk ships ordered for this year has helped tighten the market. Barclays Capital said this trend could reverse and drag freight rates lower later this year and in 2010. On a similar note, George Karageorgiou, CEO of London-listed Globus Maritime commented on Hellenic Shipping News by saying that the recent rise reflects China’s strategic decision to invest in commodities. He believes that the current freight rates aren’t sustainable and that the market is poised to retreat maybe even under 3,000 points as the summer sets in. “If you take a look at the state of the major economies, US, Europe and Japan, you will see that they’re still in a terrible state, one that doesn’t justify a quick recovery, with trade activity being directly affected” said Mr. Karageorgiou.