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Allied Shipbroking - Weekly Shipping

16 Μαρτίου 2018.

shipyardploiadMarket Analysis

5th- 9th March 2018, Week 10

The Dry bulk market seems to be going from strength to strength lately. The impressive resilience noted in the market this time around, however, has caught many by surprise. The Baltic Dry Index has managed to preserve its levels above the 1,000 point mark for a consecutive 7 month period, market conditions unmatched since mid of April 2014, which on its own says a lot as about the current state of the market. Leaving aside the general jubilation overwhelming the market right now, the dry bulk sector has shown a rale fundamental base for this strengthening, while still leaving for ample potential for further improvements to be noted forward into the year. Notwithstanding this, we must always keep in mind that the main driver for this market improvement has been the rebalancing of demand and supply. Being in part mostly attributed by the supply side of things, it is worth pointing out the benefit provided by the excessive scrapping activity that took place in 2016 and early 2017, while the decreasing Orderbook and amassed cancellations have also helped provide for a better picture moving forward. After the glut in supply noted back in 2016, many seem to have realized how a small shift in market dynamics can have a severe impact on the market as a whole. Given that we are now facing a much younger fleet profile right now, it is important to keep in mind how much more disruptive any large excesses made in terms of new orders right now can be.

The Newbuilding market, however, has its own special characteristics, depending hugely not just on people’s future expectations, but an investment decision driven by the overall state of asset prices in the secondhand market. No matter how positive forward-looking indicators are, when secondhand asset prices start to creep up to levels close to that of a new order, the market dynamics are quick to shift in the shipbuilders favor. It is no surprise that in the Capesize segment, during the quarter of the year, a period when prices had already climbed and the upward movement in terms of earnings was steeper, total new ordering accounted for over the half of the total annual figure posted for 2017. While in 2018 so far, for the first 2-month period the levels of new orders is more than 50% higher than that noted during the same time frame last year. In the Panamax segment, new ordering activity in 2018 has been even more impressive. So, with just a mere glance from even an untrained eye, it is obvious that the Newbuilding market is heavily prone and skewed towards over-exaggeration and over-enthusiasm, while given the time lag between order signing and delivery plays a significant role in the infamous shipping cycles.

So, what lies ahead for the Newbuilding Dry market? It is true that as things stand down, most forward-looking indicators point in favor of a robust flow of new orders. However, given that the demand/supply balance is still relatively tight and that under any case the market is always better off with minimal to no new orders, the case can easily be made for a “fasting” to take place. In this regard the “difficult” conditions noted on the ship financing front may well help keep things under check, however it looks as though it won’t take much for another splurge, although likely not to the same extent as last time, in new orders to take place.

 

Thomas Chasapis

Research Analyst

 

 

Freight Market

Dry Bulkers - Spot Market

5th- 9th March 2018, Week 10

 

Capesize - With the West Australia/China round losing further ground in the Pacific basin, it looks as though the market fell into a further downward dropping spiral. The Atlantic was to show the biggest week-on-week drop with the build up of tonnage in the South Atlantic costing the market while cargo volumes held at slow levels. With some resistance having been noted in the Far East, things may well hold at their current levels, while there is some slight feel that the latter half of March may well show a reversal.

Panamax - Despite the slow start to the week, the increases being noted started to gain pace, with the Pacific basin feeding the market with significant boost and allowing for the week to close at a fairly strong point. Given the current running sentiment and the relatively cleared up position lists noted both in the West and East, it looks as though this week may well be set for further gains to be noted.

Supramax - A fair boost was to be seen here too from the much more active Pacific basin, leading the “drum beat” for other major routes which where noting a fair amount of catch up in week-on-week gains. With the coal trade still fairly “hot” in the East, it looks as though this trend may follow through onto this week, while a fair amount of interest is still being shown in the Med and Cont.

Handysize - Here too the Pacific was the main driver this week, with the fair flow of fresh interest and tight tonnage lists still tilting the scales towards the ship owners favor. There was also a fair amount of interest to be seen out of the U.S. Gulf, providing good support for further gains to be seen.

 

Freight Market

Tankers - Spot Market

5th- 9th March 2018, Week 10

 

Crude Oil Carriers - A fairly steady week seen for VLs in the MEG with world scale rates holding on par on most of the major routes in both Eastbound and Westbound directions. Things would not seem as promising in the WAF, where rates there felt pressure from a lack of fresh inquiries and a strongly competing Suezmax market. Given the lack of fresh interest however, Suezmaxes seemed to be “stuck” for now at their current levels, with the larger VLs seemingly acting as a ceiling to the market for now. Things seemed to have been considerably better in the Black Sea/Med were the improved activity helped clear the market out. Aframaxes were not showing equal promise, with routes across the board showing a drop from their previous Friday’s levels.

Oil Products - Things seemed to have bee under pressure in the product tankers, with both the DPP and CPP routes showing a fair amount of softening as overall interest held at lackluster levels. There seems to be a slowly improving trend in the works for the Far East, though this has yet to materialize in practice.

 

Sale & Purchase

Newbuilding Orders

5th- 9th March 2018, Week 10

 

The newbuilding market has seemed to have kept part of its momentum for now, though the lion’s share seems to have been attributed to several passenger vessel orders that emerged this past week. We were seeing a small trickle of new orders emerge on the dry bulk front, with buying interest still looming under the surface though at levels considerably lower when taken against the level of improvement noted in the freight market these past months. On the other hand, things went quiet on the tanker side, with no new orders having surfaced this past week, despite the relatively good flurry of orders having been noted in the year so far. At the same time, it looks as though price hikes amongst shipbuilders are now coming to light slowly, with in part most being driven by the changes in technical specifications and equipment, while the other part seems to be the increased pressure brought about by the higher construction costs still faced by most.

 

Sale & Purchase

Secondhand Sales

5th- 9th March 2018, Week 10

 

On the dry bulk side, buying appetite seems to have followed through into this week, though with a lack of reflection of this being seen in terms of number of vessels changing hands. Buying interest seems to be relatively high right now, providing the backdrop for a firming up in price levels to take place. Things have become slightly murky in this regard on the older tonnage front, with rumours of a change in the age limit imposed on Chinese buyers likely to cause a price “step”.

On the tanker side, we continued to see relatively few vessels changing hands again this week. Despite many pointing out the tanker market as one with great opportunities, it seems as though few buyers are willing to bite at the moment. Given the disconnect we have seen between asset price and freight market trends, such a sale will prove hard to make, while we will need to see much improved market fundamentals before any “rush” takes place.

 

Sale & Purchase

Demolition Sales

5th- 9th March 2018, Week 10

 

The strong flow of activity has continued yet again this past week, with the firm scrap price levels helping entice owners and drive for fairly quick deals. The main bulk of these, has been tanker vessels which due to Pakistan remaining out of competition, still leaves for a poor price premiums being paid against dry vessels being sold. The poor freight market conditions, will continue to push for a fair supply of demo candidates to emerge from the tanker sector, though we may well start to see some owners delay their decision, as the hints of a looming re-opening of Pakistan for these vessels could easily boost price levels by a fair amount. Under such a case, this price boost may well expand beyond tanker units, even allowing for another round of speculative buying to take place, as end buyers start to compete more aggressively. For the moment things are holding relatively firm on the price front, despite the fair number of vessels having already been beached since the start of the year.

 

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