Baltic Dry Index nearing bottom

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) fell to 564 points on Thursday hitting the lowest in almost thirty years.

The BDI marked a loss of 10.7% in the past week and is just 10 points off its lowest level reported in July 1986.

The fall has been influenced by structural overcapacity, as there are too many ships to meet the declining demand. Estimates show that the global dry bulk fleet’s overcapacity stands at 20 percent.

The index is feared to likely fall further ahead of the Chinese New Year, China being the biggest commodities importer. The steep decline is further fueled by an overall slowdown in the market.

Despite the overall weak sentiment, there is a scent of optimism in the Atlantic market for ppt dates, according to Fearnleys’ Weekly Report which said, “Continent is still struggling with oversupply and levels sliding in the mid 7,000 range for trips out or to the Mediterranean. Rates have also been under pressure from USG, where fronthaul may pay about 11,500 and trips to Med just short of 10 K.”

Fearnleys reported that Ultramax levels from India to China was in the mid 5,000, with period activity less than limited. Panamax sector was generally weak in both hemispheres, due to lack of new business and cargoes being fixed at low levels.

“Many owners are close to idle their vessels due to the weak rates. Some fronthaul business concluded at rates between 8.5- 9.5 k. Charterers enter the marked with coa requirements due to low rates, which maybe indicating we are close to the bottom. Period activity also limited despite some 11-14 months reported at high 7k,” the shipbroking firm added.

According to the shipbroker, there has been relatively healthy fixing volumes in the cape market, both in the Pacific and Atlantic fronthaul trade.

“The big swing factor, Vale, has been active but cleverly avoided getting the market excited. The rates across the board have improved slightly but this is only a compensation for the increased bunker costs in the recent oil rally. As we approach March there is a certain amount of period fixing and this is replacement activity for all the tonnage fixed in expensively at this time last year,” the report stated.

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