Dry bulk FFA market: Treading water at the turning point


A tumultuous week for the dry bulk freight market, though one in which the main action was off-market.

With the Singapore Exchange (SGX) negotiations for the Baltic Exchange going exclusive, we are likely to end up with a new owner and quite possibly a new reality to operate in.

Any new owner of the Baltic will have plenty to do and if SGX is serious about the freight market, then increasing Asian trading volumes will be high on its to-do list. Activity this week was poor but that could be blamed more on looming UK holidays than on a disruption to the status quo.

Capes were negative as the week began with West Australia/China trending lower and the Atlantic tonnage list continuing to grow. The paper market was marked sharply lower and as it approached all time low levels for Q3 brokers were pondering when the selling would come to an end.

Rates came off in Asian trading as the week ended with the physical market a mixed bag. As a result paper was volatile but very patchy with the curve trending higher only to run into waves of selling as and when any positive fixtures were analysed. Whether the paper can hold on to these gains and what direction the physical is actually moving is a toss of a coin at this stage.

With little change to the gloomy physical picture it was more of the same on panamax paper as levels continued to edge lower albeit only gradually. June and July broke support but selling remains cautious, particularly for the longer dated contracts, with hopes still pinned on EC South America.

Despite initially holding support, levels gave in to some selling pressure with prompts once again bearing the brunt before finding a new level before we saw some fragile support.

Supras had very little to report all round with little change or interest down the curve. It felt this week as though the bank holiday was already upon us and the market tended to drift. The fire went out completely at the end of the week, and if there were a few ‘off market’ trades none were reported in the market.

Source: Freight Investor Services (FIS)

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