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Allied Shipbroking - Weekly Shipping

16 Μαΐου 2018.

shipplori5Market Analysis

7th-11th May 2018, Week 19

We are following through from last week’s insight on the crude oil market jump, as developments rock the validity of this new 4-year high mark in its price. As previously discussed, these latest advances in the price of crude oil have been heavily fueled by the abandonment of the nuclear deal with Iran by the US, bringing the potential of shortage in terms of supply. However, as the week progressed it became apparent that the rest of the parties involved in the deal would step up and do their outmost to uphold the terms and keep “things going”. Europe has played an instrumental role here, with most of the European leaders and the UK having embarked in efforts to uphold the accord and shield European companies from possible US sanctions that would threaten a considerable amount of investments that have been made since the deal was first struck. This is a key step, given that a considerable volume of crude oil from Iran has typically been destined for Europe, while at the same time Iran heavily depends on supplies and access to financing from European companies. At the same time China has also taken up the opportunity to further enhance its relationship with this major oil producer, extending valuable discussions with Iran’s Foreign minister as it looks to find ways around the re-establishment of US sanctions.

A bigger key to all this however, will be the turbulence all this will bring on the price of crude oil itself. After the initial surge in price which has reached now close to US$ 80 per barrel, things are slowly looking to settle down. The reason in part has been the aforementioned efforts by other countries to uphold a deal despite the absence of the US. Yet, it seems as though the biggest driving force however has been developments that most would have expected to take place at a much later stage. OPEC is already seen as a possible source for plugging any possible gap left behind by Iran, with enough spare production capacity along with Russia to more than easily offset any cut back in Iran’s production levels. At the same time, it looks as though US producers have been very quick to respond to these most recent developments, despite the near-term limitations they face. One of the biggest issues they have to battle with is the pipeline capacity constraints that is being seen in west Texas, the very heart of the US shale boom. Despite this considerable limitation, a number of projects have regained momentum over the past couple of days for the tackling of this issue through new pipeline capacity development. The fruits to bear from these efforts will most likely take more than a year to show face, yet, it will surely push for another reshuffling of the global crude oil trade map.

Beyond the typical discussions revolving the tanker market and possible influences these geopolitical developments may have on their trade (something that has been extensively discussed in previous issues), it is important to look at the overall effect it has on the shipping industry as a whole. A common view that is often expressed amongst practitioners, is that high oil prices foretell a market rally in general. This may well have been the case in past decades, where a spike in the price of crude oil would be directly linked with some sort of spike in consumption levels and as such a spike in industrial production. In this particular case however, an overwhelming spike in the price of crude oil could act counter to this logic, choking the demand growth in trade rather than being a forbearer of the reverse.


George Lazaridis

Head of Research & Valuations



Freight Market

Dry Bulkers-Spot Market

7th-11th May 2018


Capesize - The positive mood continues on with further firming being witnessed across the board. The Pacific was quick to show strength, but lost some ground towards the latter half of the week as things started to slow down slightly in the Atlantic. Overall it looks as though things will continue through on promising ground for a few days longer thanks to better position lists, while fresh interest should start to ramp up as things get back into action in the North Atlantic.

Panamax - Things were still relatively weak in the Atlantic as fresh interest continues to hold in a slump. Things were looking to be slightly improved in the Pacific, with rates seemingly having reached a bottom for now and rates starting to show some upward strength. Increased activity on the mineral front should help start to boost things further for now, while ECSA has started to show a bit more promise of better days moving forward.

Supramax - A relatively slow week in the Atlantic, with disruptions due to holidays in Europe taking a considerable chunk out of the market. The Pacific was able to hold on a slightly better tone, with some fair gains being noted thanks to tighter tonnage lists being seen.

Handysize - Overall a negative week here, with rates dropping slightly across tha vast majority of routes. It seems as though the slower flow of interest has cost the market, while things were able to hold at slightly better levels in the Pacific, with a bigger restrain being noted on rate drops. The only region to show positive gains was that of the US Gulf, with some slight recovery noted against previous losses.


Freight Market

Tankers - Spot Market

7th-11th May 2018


Crude Oil Carriers - A mainly mixed picture was to be seen for VLs in the MEG, with rates loosing ground as the week came to a close, with earnings also dropping on the weight of increased bunker prices. Eastbound rates were able to hold out at slightly better figures, though it remains to be seen how well they will hold on the face of increased tonnage lists being seen. Things were not looking to be much better for Suezmaxes, with both the WAF and Black Sea/Med losing ground on the back of slower fixing activity. Aframaxes were also riding on a similar tone, with most routes losing ground, though in their vast majority the losses were on an earnings basis due to increased voyage costs here too. Overall it looks as though the May program may well turn out to be a light one as things stand now.

Oil Products - DPP routes were still showing some further gains this past week, with the only exception being that of the slower moving Black Sea/Med region. A very different picture was to be seen on the CPP front, with the vast majority of routes losing further ground on the back of slower enquiry levels being seen.


Sale & Purchase

Newbuilding Orders

7th-11th May 2018


An interesting week for the Newbuilding market, following through from the bullish face of late, with plenty of new orders coming into light. In the dry bulk sector, after a week of complete absence of activity, we have seen a very firm flow of new ordering emerge, inline somehow with the positive sentiment in terms of earnings, though not necessarily focused on the size segments were the most promising surge in earnings has taken place. Given that the freight market from the early part of the previous month has once again started to return back on a positive trajectory, we may well continue to see a further volume of new projects take shape during the course of this year. On the other hand, while things on the Tanker side remain bearish in terms of earnings, newbuilding activity still holds at relatively good levels for the time being. This can be also seen as a mere reflection of the fact that many market participants feel that these price levels will not be hold this low for much longer.


Sale & Purchase

Secondhand Sales

7th-11th May 2018


On the dry bulk side, things have suddenly quieted down this past week with just a handful of secondhand sales being reported. Despite this, given the recent upward trend noted in the freight market, it may well be a case of a temporary pause as both sellers take an opportunity to regroup to the new realities at hand and find the new price levels that make sense. This will surely be more so the case for the former, with most sellers likely to attempt to capitalize on this bullish sentiment and further drive prices over the next couple of months.

On the tanker side, the level of activity scaled back this past week, dropping back down to the typical levels we have become accustomed to. Despite the bearish mood in the freight market, there still seems to be a fair amount of buying interest around. However, with most of this interest still focused on the bargain side of things, the market is still not there to really accommodate.


Sale & Purchase

Demolition Sales

7th-11th May 2018


Things in the recycling market turned rather blurry for the time being, given the fact that activity in the Indian Sub-Continent is unable to sustain its previous fixing volumes. Despite Pakistan’s re-opening for tanker units, offered price levels remain under pressure, as inventory circulated into the market is excessive and most End Buyers seem discouraged to bid at these levels. Moreover, given that we are now close to a traditionally quiet period for the demolition market, and with weather disruptions already being felt to some degree, this may have spooked most cash buyers from any excessive speculative buying while also looking to take a more conservative approach, holding back their cash for when the uncertainty seems to have cleared up. Regarding the other main ship recycling destinations, recent news of the closure of the Chinese recycling market for international flagged vessels, came to add extra pressure to the mix, despite the fact that China has been unable to compete in this market for some time now. On the short run, given that the closure is planned to take effect from January 2019 onwards, it is unlikely that this will play an imminent role in the overall price of scrap.









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