Panamax rates continued to weaken due to oversupply and limited cargoes on Monday, but owners were hopeful that the market was finding a floor, brokers said.
The physical market remained in decline, but the forward freight agreement market was holding steady.
Buying interest on the Biffex futures market on Friday had suggested a potential bounce this week, brokers said.
Panamaxes struggled to find employment and charterers were still using their advantage to push rates lower.
However, in some cases owners were having to think hard about whether it was worth taking up the returns being offered, or stay unemployed.
Clarkson Research Studies reported average panamax earnings down 14 percent to $5,630 daily last week, compared with an average to date for 2001 of $9,560 daily.
Of the latest fixtures, brokers reported that the 1994 built 69,274 dwt panamax Joyous Society had been chartered by Cargill
for a Mississippi River to El Dekheila voyage.
The ship is to carry 60,000 tons of heavy grain at a rate of $11 per ton. Loading is scheduled between August 21 and 27.