A huge month and a buoyant quarter for volume in FFAs, with both the Baltic and SGX reporting big gains as traders increased their activity on swaps and options.
But the increases stand in contrast to the mood in the market, where despite some paper volatility and a push for the big ships, there appears to be no complementary improvement in physical rates.
Capesize sentiment had initially pointed to softening time charter rates but paper began to push higher across all periods. The main focus of the buying was the deferred, both Cal 16 and Cal 17 and despite there being little
change in the physical market, paper maintained its upward pursuit on short covering or expectation of better fortunes around the corner.
The whole curve rose on Thursday with heavy volume traded although many of the bids pulled back and sellers were more confident to sell down. Physical still needs to show some considerable improvement to justify these levels and the question remains, if the short covering stops, who will be brave enough to put on fresh length at such a premium to the index?
Panamaxes initially held a steady range on prompt, with some renewed buying further out, largely attributed to the improved capesize sentiment rather than a fundamental shift. The segment stayed at the mercy of the bigger ships, sparking a mini-rally in early trading Thursday which lifted May-June, Q3 and Q4. However, the index delivered a reality check and the subsequent correction left the market flat on the close.
Supramaxes naturally did their own thing, with some positivity and a better index midweek but still rather quiet despite being better bid on prompt. The market continued to show some resistance at the same levels with a gradual increase in rates on prompt and nearby despite the index stepping back into negative territory.
FIS Bulk FFA prices 8 May
Capesize Average 4 Timecharter Routes 172,000mt dwt
Q3 15 7,500
Q4 15 10,500
Cal 16 9,750
Panamax Average 4 Timecharter Routes 74,000mt dwt
Q3 15 5,000
Q4 15 6,200
Cal 16 6,200
Supramax Average 6 Timecharter Routes 52,000mt dwt
Q3 15 6,150
Q4 15 7,200
Cal 16 6,700
Handysize Average 6 Timecharter Routes 28,000mt dwt
Q3 15 5,400
Q4 15 5,750
Cal 16 6,250
* All prices are basis midprice between best bid and offer 1200 London Time
** All prices are indications of current market level
*** Contract routes are as per the current Baltic route definitions