Capesize Rates Take a Huge Dive

Wednesday, March 14, 2001
Freight rates for Capesize ships have been hammered this week, falling by the biggest margin seen in over four years, brokers said. London shipbroker SSY said this represented “the largest single week fall,” since it launched its Capesize indices in January 1997. The fall was caused, said SSY, by the fact that few bookings had emerged for ships to carry iron ore cargoes to Japanese steel mills at the end of March and start of April. This followed a spike in activity over the last few weeks as steel mills rushed to book ships for cargoes bought before higher commodity prices take effect on April 1. On the benchmark Atlantic basin ore route from Tubarao to Japan, freight fell by $1.1 per ton during the week to reach $9.1 per ton on Monday. “Tonnage supply was tighter in the Pacific market, but even this could not hold back the negative sentiment and rates fell accordingly.” said SSY. SSY noted that a wave of new Capesize ships was starting to be delivered. The influx of new ships is expected to alter the supply-demand balance in 2001. London’s Baltic Exchange downrated its Capesize freight index by 158 points to 1,813. — (Reuters)
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