By Keith Wallis
SINGAPORE, Oct 20 (Reuters) – Freight rates for large capesize dry cargo ships on key Asian routes will continue to fall next week as too many ships chase available cargoes, brokers said on Thursday.
“The market is absolutely dead today – it’s all very doom and gloom,” said a Singapore-based capesize broker on Thursday.
While BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have been active charterers this week, Fortescue Metals Group has stayed out of the market, the broker added.
“Vale has said it had nothing now for October- and November-loading dates, so there will be no volume from Brazil,” the broker added.
That came despite owners sailing vessels empty to Brazil in the hope of picking Brazilian iron ore cargoes, brokers said.
“There are so many ballasters (empty vessels) and a limited number of cargoes from Brazil. So far the market is still dropping, so I don’t think either the Atlantic or Pacific will recover soon,” said a Shanghai-based capesize broker.
Rates were around $5.35 per tonne on Thursday for a voyage from Australia to China, brokers said.
“The expectation is they will go lower. There’s a lot of pressure on rates,” the Singapore broker said.
While China’s iron ore imports have remained strong this year, reaching 763 million tonnes in the first nine months, anticipated extra supply from Australia and Brazil is expected to put pressure on iron ore prices, ship broker Banchero Costa (Bancosta) said in a report on Tuesday.
“While iron ore export volumes may remain positive for now, it seems possible for Australia’s iron ore export revenue to trend down on lower prices and Chinese demand next year,” Ralph Leszczynski, Bancosta’s head of research, said.
Lower Chinese demand would negatively impact capesize rates, brokers said.
Charter rates for the Western Australia-China route dropped to $5.70 per tonne on Wednesday, the lowest since Oct. 5, from $6.10 per tonne last week.
Freight rates from Brazil to China fell to $11.38 per tonne on Wednesday, the lowest since Sept. 15, from $12.40 per tonne on the same day last week.
Charter rates for smaller panamax vessels for a North Pacific round-trip voyage soared to $7,492 per day on Wednesday, the highest since July 28, 2015, from $6,387 per day last week.
“Last week’s positive sentiment (in the panamax market) continues in both hemispheres,” Norwegian ship broker Fearnley said in a note on Wednesday.
For smaller supramax vessels, freight rates in the Far East rose to around $7,000 per day for coal cargoes from Indonesia to China against $6,600-$6,800 per day last week, brokers said.
The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight fell to 872 on Wednesday from 906 a week earlier. (Reporting by Keith Wallis; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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