Barely six months after the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) saw an all-time low of 513 points and capesize spot rates threatened to bottom-out at $3,100 daily, spot rates for capesize bulk carriers have surged by $1,814/day to reach their highest level since November 25, 2014.
Likewise, the BDI has advanced 49 points on yesterday to hit an eight-month high of 1,200 points, in spite of weakening panamax and supramax markets.
The BDI’s boost has been bumped up by the strong capesize market, which has consistently outperformed expectations that rates would level off after weeks of frantic fixing activity.
Today, the timecharter average spot rate for capesizes stands at $19,879/day, compared to $18,065/day yesterday. This has helped the Baltic Capesize Index (BCI) grow by 204 points on yesterday’s level to 2,512 points today, according to Baltic Exchange data.
Capesize chartering activity has been driven by iron ore exports from Brazil bound for China, which have stayed at consistently high levels as mining companies increase their output and Chinese importers take advantage of the collapsed commodity price.
Brazil’s Vale, the world’s top iron-ore producer, is expanding supply to a record 340m tpa this year, in an effort to replace low-quality ore with premium products to improve its profits. Its rivals BHP and Rio Tinto Group are doing the same. Over the past quarter up to June 30, Vale’s iron-ore output rose 7.4% to 85.3m tonnes, compared with 79.4m tonnes a year ago.
The capesize market has also found support from the low net growth in the global fleet. Sixty-eight capes have been scrapped this year to date, compared to 16 in the same period last year.