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Friday, July 10, 2009

Shipping Rates Will Decline After Record Rally, Survey Shows

Friday, 10 July 2009

The cost of transporting coal, iron ore and grain by sea will decline this quarter, ending a record rally, a survey showed. The Baltic Dry Index will average 2,950 points in the third quarter, according to the median estimate of seven analysts, traders and fund managers surveyed July 3 to 7. That’s 5 percent less than yesterday’s 3,107 points. The gauge averaged 2,714 in the last three months. The index fell a record 92 percent last year as a global recession sapped demand for commodities. It rebounded as much as fivefold this year, partly because of congestion at ports as China bought more raw materials. The Baltic Dry Index dropped 17 percent this month on speculation Chinese demand will weaken.
There are Chinese “traders and small steel mills importing more iron ore than ports, stock yards and final demand can sustain,” said Nigel Prentis, director of research and consultancy at HSBC Shipping Services Ltd. in London. Prentis was the most accurate forecaster in the second-quarter survey.
Chinese iron-ore imports in March, April and May were the highest on record for data going back to 1999, customs data show. Coal imports in those months were the greatest since at least 2004. The government is spending 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) on infrastructure and other projects to support the economy after first-quarter growth was the slowest this decade.
Estimates for the survey came from HSBC, Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd., Thurlestone Shipping Ltd., TMT Co., Castalia Fund Management (U.K.) Ltd., M2M Management Ltd. and Fearnley Fonds ASA.

Source: Alaric Nightingale, Allister Holloway, Bloomberg