Panamax Trades Firm

Wednesday, January 17, 2001
Freight rates for Panamaxes trading the Pacific remained firm due to a flurry of business ahead of the Lunar New year, shipbrokers said on Tuesday. In the Far East, owners of larger Panamax sizes have been negotiating firm returns recently and continue to do so. Chinese charterers told shipbrokers that business there will grind to a halt between January 24 and 30 in observance of the Lunar New Year celebrations. Brokers added that the impending holiday will start to affect the Panamax markets by the end of the week and added that demand during the following week could be limited. Meanwhile, despite a firmer tone in the Atlantic Panamax sector, many shipbrokers believe that in the near term, the sector will be at best steady. They said recent sentiment that Atlantic rates could see a revival was based more on optimism than fact. Brokers pointed out that only limited orders were emerging in the U.S. Gulf due to a long weekend in the U.S. and saw no reason to hint that rate trends would change sharply for the better. However, severe weather patterns on Atlantic trading routes could cause disruption and delays in the weeks ahead for the Panamax market. This could push rates up on a positional basis, they said. - (Reuters)
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