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Weekly Broker: Cape volatility has many on edge

Following months of price fluctuations in the bulker sale and purchase market as the sector has been constantly correcting itself, secondhand prices have stablished in the past month.

Allied Shipbroking’s indicative dry bulk values show that the average price for bulkers in almost all sizes and age groups have kept at the same level since March 15. The only price difference has been seen in the 15-year-old, 74,000 dwt panamax group, which is up by 2.8% in the period.

According to Intermodal’s report, sentiment in the dry bulk market slowly but steadily kept improving over the past week as capesize rates remained in recovery mode and panamax earnings also enjoyed a positive week.

“As a result the BDI has now moved back to end of January levels, while despite this notable improvement the fact that earnings for the big bulkers remain at below OPEX levels is still causing a lot of concern. Those who are most bearish are pointing out to the fact that the upward movement of capes is already running out of steam, which is not usually the case when the market fundamentally improves. Indeed if one looks at past patterns it is evident that following losses attributed to seasonality, cape rates had covered the ground lost much faster, while a slower recovery with an indecisive direction of the market had been seen during times that losses were attributed to a fundamentally weaker market,” Intermodal said.

“On the dry bulk side, a firm flow of activity took place the last couple of days. Taking into account what we have seen the past few weeks, the overall market seems to be amidst a rebalancing taking shape. The highlight of the week is the small spark of life in the capesize market, which was in a total clampdown for many months now, following somehow in line with the more positive signs seen in the freight market this past week or so,” Allied Shipbroking said in its weekly report.

Splash has already reported some notable bulker S&P deals this week. Hong Kong dry bulk owner Jinhui Shipping and Transportation has acquired a pair of supramax bulkers from Greek owner Chartworld Shipping, paying $5.75m for 2001-built Aigeorgis and $6.25m for 2002-built Aifanourios. In another deal, Thailand’s Thoresen Shipping has acquired 2014-built ultramax Western Santos from Nisshin Shipping for about $18m.

Multiple shipbroking houses reported that Star Bulk sold its 2015 Chinese-built 63,000 dwt ultramax bulker Star Anna to Norwegian interests for $18.5m while Lorentzen & Stemoco identified the buyer as Belships, which has been active on the S&P market lately. The vessel is the fourth bulker the company has acquired this month. Star Bulk sold the vessel less than six months after acquiring it from Delphin Shipping for $20m in November last year.

Several shipbroking houses listed the sale of the 2002-built 28,000 dwt handysize bulker Dauntless. The Japanese-built vessel was sold by Blue Wall Shipping to Lebanese interests for $5.3m.

“On the tanker side, we witnessed a considerable ease back in volume. Notwithstanding this, buying appetite seems to be still there and ample, especially for the suezmax tonnage, shifting at the same time the focus from the MR, which had been dominating the second hand tanker market for many months now. All-in-all, being in the midst of the Easter Holiday break, we may well see sluggish mode transpire over the following days, before things fire up once again,” Allied Shipbroking said.

Intermodal reported that German owner DS Tankers sold two 2001-built 150,500 dwt suezmax tankers, DS Melody and DS Symphony. Greek owner Nicholas George Moundreas’ NGM Energy is said to have taken over the two vessels for an undisclosed price. Last November, the company also acquired the VLCC DS Vida from DS Tankers. Following the sale, DS Tankers’ fleet will be left with only two vessels.

Advanced Shipping & Trading, Intermodal, Lorentzen & Stemoco and Andreas J. Zachariassen all reported that Greek owner Anthony Comninos-led Horizon Tankers sold its 2004-built aframax tanker Camelia to Indonesian company Soechi Lines for $14.3m. The deal made a quick $1.9m profit for Horizon Tankers in less than six months as it acquired the vessel from DHT Holdings for $12.4m in November last year.

In the containership sale and purchase market, according to Braemar ACM Shipbroking, despite the Easter holidays the secondhand market remained fairly active with a number of Japanese owned vessels inviting offers before the Easter break.

Intermodal reported that the 4,432 teu Brussels Bridge was sold by Japanese-owner Osaka Asahi to South Korean interests for $11m.

Alphaliner reported that Erck Rickmers-controlled ER Capital has purchased the 2004-built 2,492 teu, Transman-owned container vessel Saint Nikolaos for a price said to be in the high $6ms. The deal comes with a long term charter to Maersk Line.

Jason Jiang

Jason is one of the most prolific writers on the diverse China shipping & logistics industry and his access to the major maritime players with business in China has proved an invaluable source of exclusives. Having been working at Asia Shipping Media since inception, Jason is the chief correspondent of Splash and associate editor of Maritime CEO magazine. Previously he had written for a host of titles including Supply Chain Asia, Cargo Facts and Air Cargo Week.
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