The capesize and panamax bulker sectors did not make much headway over the past week as the Pacific basin remained relatively quiet on fixtures, analysts said.
The Baltic Exchange’s Capesize 5TC spot-rate average across five benchmark routes slumped to $16,214 per day on Friday, a 11.6% slump from a week earlier.
The plunge erased any gains the index made in the prior week.
“The capesize market failed to push through to higher values this week as lower activity in the Pacific hampered efforts,” Baltic Exchange analysts wrote on Friday in their weekly analysis of dry bulk shipping.
“The Atlantic basin has been looking well supported with fixture values continuing to climb. However, a question mark remains as to whether the overall activity is enough to pull the wider market along.”
The North Atlantic has been “on diverging paths this week” with the Pacific basin. The average spot rate for the transatlantic C8 round voyage to deliver cargoes into Europe rose 50% over the past week to $20,167 per day on Friday.
Meanwhile, the average spot rate for the C10 transpacific roundtrip route between Australia and China slid 52% during the same time to $9,159 per day on Friday.
Rio Tinto hired four unnamed capesizes on Tuesday and Wednesday at freight rates ranging from $8.85 per tonne to $9.30 per tonne to send four 170,000-dwt shipments of iron ore from Dampier, Western Australia, to Qingdao, China.
The ships are scheduled to be loaded from 10 to 14 October.
Last Friday, BHP fixed an unnamed capesize last Friday at $10 per metric tonne to ship the commodity from Port Hedland, Australia, to Qingdao.
The panamax 5TC moved sideways for much of the past week, gaining 4.4% toward the end of the week to reach $18,742 per day on Friday.
“It was a lethargic Pacific market this week, except for a minor push midweek from [North Pacific] and Australia destination Japan, with rates returning softer overall,” the analysts said.
“It proved to be a real Atlantic/Asia divide this week for the panamax market.”
An 82,000-dwt panamax took a spot rate somewhere in the mid-$15,000s midweek for a North Pacific trip, but this fixture may be a “one-off” since other panamaxes are getting $17,000 per day in line with market expectations, the analysts said.
The Supramax 10TC improved only two-thirds of a percent over the week to $18,292 per day on Friday.
The Handysize 7TC gained 4.5% over the seven-day period to reach $18,159 per day on Friday.