Shipping Market Insight

Since the beginning of the New Year we have been witnessing the BDI correcting downwards, which nonetheless seems to have no effect at all on SnP transactions. Indeed, we see that dry bulk second hand prices have been actually moving up, fact that has been rather confusing for some.

In contrast to the latest BDI performance, It seems that most shipowners believe that following the Chinese New Year, the market will quickly recover and once again start moving at encouraging levels, hence their bids for tonnage currently available in the market is usually including a small premium that incorporates this expected positive market reversal that will secure them tonnage in today’s market and save them from competing at higher levels later on when more Buyers will feel encouraged to offer.

Looking at the performance of the Dry Bulk market as of the end of 2017, we notice that the index started to climb from around 1,360 points in mid-November and quickly reached 1,740 points in mid-December. From that point onwards we saw a steady drop that has brought the BDI down to 1,125 points last Friday, representing a drop of around 35% compared to mid-December. As already mentioned above this undeniably sizeable drop has not been reflected on asset prices at all, with modern vessels actually having witnessed an upside. What is also impressive is the number of Dry Bulk SnP transactions on record during this period that has reached 86.

This number is clearly reflecting the impressive buying interest, that is expressed from a number of buying nationalities and is quite intense even for older ships built during 2000-2002 and particularly Handymaxes and Panamaxes. These vessels are predominantly popular with Chinese buyers that aim on a Chinese flag. We have recently seen 7 Chinese buyers inspecting a 2001 built Handymax, evidence of the said interest. This also means that for as long as the local trade in China keeps developing and remains short on vessels, we will most probably see interest in those vessels increased, being the perfect candidates to fit the Chinese flag requirements at the lowest cost because of their age.

Another recent sign of the strong market momentum as far as SnP activity is concerned is the fact that a number of modern vessels that were for sale, were bought on a waving inspection basis; a clear reflection of the firm competition that keeps building up out there. The following month will be particularly interesting as well, as the Chinese New Year that is due in about three weeks is a time during which the market is also traditionally slow. If the SnP market manages to remain stable during this time, this will most definitely be a positive sign for what is coming ahead and an indication of further upside in asset values before the summer season.

Very recently we have also started seeing a number of non-Japanese Handies and Ultramaxes fetching very firm offers, which is an additional indication of the strong buying appetite out there. Let us hope that all these optimistic signs will indeed turn into positive developments for the market following the end of the Chinese New Year and that the recovery for bulkers will continue as smoothly as possible going forward, hopefully avoiding the crazy ups and downs we witnessed during recent years.


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