With the UK-US and Pacific region in the holiday mood, chartering activity has been a bit slow this week. The Atlantic PMAX market was flat w-o-w but as tonnage lists were still swollen, rates concluded were below last traded levels. South American rates remained under pressure and owners with early to mid-June PMAXs were forced to chase lower rates. Lack of grain cargo in the Northern Pacific region undermined values as the rate for a round voyage for a PMAX opening in the Japan/Korea/North China range was around the low $6,000s/day range.
Demand for coal-fired electricity may remain flat during the Chinese peak summer demand season as hydro-electric power production is on track and may possibly increase as the season progresses. This might result in a lack of demand for imported thermal coal into China. A PMAX vessel on a DOP basis opening in South China heading from Indonesia to China was rated around the low $6,000s/day range (flat w-o-w). The market witnessed a few time-charter orders from shipping operators to move coking coal out of East Coast Australia. PMAX vessels on a DOP basis opening in North China heading from Australia to China and Australia to India were around the mid $5,000s/day and high $5,000s/day range respectively.
The downward trend for SMAX vessels continued on all routes and basins. While the US Gulf saw some decent activity in terms of fixtures, there were too many owners competing for the same cargo. Period activity out of East Coast South America remained limited. A 61,000-dwt 2010-built delivery Recalada was fixed for a trip to the Philippines at $12,000/day plus a ballast bonus of $175,000. A NOPAC round voyage for a SMAX vessel on a DOP basis opening in the CJK area achieved about high $6,000s/day. Steel trips to West Coast India from Korea basis North China delivery for a 58,000 dwt paid around low $7,000s/day and high $3,000s/day to SKAW-CONT from Korea basis CJK delivery. Clearly, the holidays at the end of last week and early this week stalled any possible recovery.
Business in the Pacific basin was quiet all over due to the Chinese Dragon boat festival. Vessels open in North China struggled to find fresh business but improved weather in the Philippines enabled a few nickel ore fixtures with SMAX vessels being rated in the high $6000s/day for a round trip. Market sentiment related to Indonesian coal flows into India and China was generally weak due to the onset of the monsoon season in the former and increased port stocks and higher hydro-power generation numbers in the latter. SMAX vessels for coal on a DOP basis opening in Singapore/Southeast Asia heading from Indonesia to India and China are in the mid $7,000s/day and mid $5,000s/day range respectively.
The South African coal export markets once again struggled for offers as buyers were happy to sit and wait for the sellers to come out to play. Tonnage count continued to increase in the Persian Gulf to West Coast India region. SMAX vessels on a DOP basis opening in ECI/WCI for the RBCT to India coal route are in the mid $4,000s/day range, while the PG to India route is currently around the mid $6,000s/day range. PMAX vessels on a DOP basis opening in ECI/WCI doing the RBCT to India route are around the low $5,000s/day range.