Monday, February 02, 2009
Monday, 02 February 2009
The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping costs for commodities, gained last week on a record jump in rates to hire so-called panamax vessels to haul iron ore for making steel. There's 'evidence that the bottom' has been reached for slumping iron-ore markets, Australia's Fortescue Metals Group said on Friday. Cia Vale do Rio Doce, the world's biggest iron-ore producer, had its share- price estimate raised at Barclays on the outlook that prices for the material will fall less than previously estimated.
Slumping demand for steel, slower economic growth and a trade-clogging credit freeze caused shipping rates to collapse last year. Rents for panamaxes and larger capesize vessels that compete for cargoes fell below daily operating rates and forced owners to anchor some ships.
'It's continued chartering of iron ore' supporting rates, Peter Norfolk, a shipping analyst at Simpson, Spence & Young in London, said. 'Steel production has not stopped completely.' There's not a 'huge amount' of larger ships available in the Atlantic, he said.
The index rose 34 points, or 3.3 per cent, to 1,070 points, according to the Baltic Exchange. Panamaxes, the biggest ships to sail through the locks of the Panama Canal, jumped 50 per cent last week to US$6,357 a day. Rents for capesizes dropped 2.7 per cent to US$17,410 last week.
Customers have split loads onto smaller ships because capesizes remain 2.7 times costlier to hire than panamaxes, compared with a five-year average of two times.
Forward freight agreements, derivatives used by traders to bet on future shipping rates, advanced. FFAs for capesizes rose 18 per cent on Friday to US$22,375 a day for the first quarter. That's the highest since Oct 13. Panamax futures jumped 32 per cent to US$10,500 for the same period, the biggest rise since at least August 2004.