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Weekly Broker: Owners pin hopes on Year of the Pig

The year of the dog is fading out with barely a bark, with owners hoping the upcoming Chinese New Year finally gives them the chance to bring home the bacon.

The traditional seasonal slowdown between Christmas and Chinese New Year has seen the dry bulk market extend losses for yet another week, with the Baltic Dry Index slipping below 1,000 points. The downward correction in the market has seen owners hold off major investments, despite a host of ships being circulated for sale.

In the chartering market, according to Alibra, capes reported minimal period fixtures this week with one-year rates holding around $18,000 per day, while panamax rates have fallen in the Pacific, following the seasonal trend for falling rates in Asia. For smaller sizes, in the Atlantic there is an oversupply of ships with very little requirement.

Despite the fluctuation on the dry bulk chartering market, the secondhand prices of bulkers have slightly increased over the week. Banchero Costa’s weekly assessment shows that average prices for all bulker segments have seen increases ranging from 0.3% to 1% week-on-week.

“On the dry bulk side, a modest activity was noted these past few days, with the market starting to show an upward trend. However, given the overall sluggish mode of late, the S&P market seems yet unable to sustain a stable direction for the time being. Moreover, while the freight market shows signs of easing, the most probable scenario is that we will continue to witness periodical ups and down both in terms of volume of transactions as well as fresh interest for secondhand dry bulk assets,” Allied Shipbroking said.

Lorentzen & Stemoco has identified Greek owner JME Navigation as the buyer of the 2013-built 63,000 dwt ultramax bulker Sage Sanaga. The Chinese-built vessel has been sold by JP Morgan for a price of $20.5m.

Multiple shipbroking sources listed the sale of the 2005-built 52,000 dwt supramax bulker Sea Confidence. The Japanese-built vessel has been sold by Hong Kong-owner Interocean Shipping to unspecified Chinese interests for $9m.

Advanced Shipbroking, Intermodal and Lorentzen & Stemoco all reported a deal in which China Merchants Bank has taken over the ownership of the 2004-built 174,000 dwt capesize bulker Mineral Beijing from Belgian owner Bocimar for an undisclosed price. The deal is believed to part of a financial leasing arrangement.

In the tanker chartering market, according to Alibra, the crude segment has seen limited period activity as oil prices have fallen again this week as concerns of an economic slowdown in 2019 weighed on markets.

“On the tanker side, activity has slowed down a bit on a w-o-w basis, after the fairly good start to the year. Despite this, things remain overall vivid in the S&P market, with fresh interest seemingly ample at this point. Moreover, given the general positive sentiment in respect to future freight earnings, we may well continue to see a fair number of deals taking places on a rather constant basis,” said Allied Shipbroking.

Allied Shipbroking, Intermodal and Lorentzen & Stemoco all listed the sale deal of the 2005 South Korean-built aframax tanker Phoenix Dream. The 118,700 dwt tanker was sold by Japanese owner MOL to UK-based Union Maritime for a price of $14.5m.

Both Intermodal and Seasure Shipbroking reported a resale deal in which Belgian owner Transpetrol Maritime Services acquired two 50,000 dwt newbuild MR tankers (hull 472 and hull 466) under construction at Hyundai Vinashin from Norway’s DSD Shipping for a price of $34m each. The vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2020.

Lorentzen & Stemoco and Advanced Shipping & Trading both listed the sale of the 2001-built, 160,000 dwt suezmax tanker Four Smile. The South Korean-built vessel is said to have been sold by Italian owner Premuda to Turkish owner Karadeniz for a price of $11.5m.

The secondhand containership sale and purchase has no deals to report this past week, however, Braemar ACM Shipbroking noted that a Chinese-owned 11,000 teu vessel has been committed on subjects at $86m with eleven years charter remaining to a major line.

“A number of other similar packages are on the market but it is not yet clear that the sellers are ready to take the necessary haircut,” Braemar ACM Shipbroking said.

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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