Asian Panamax freight rates for dry bulk cargo in the Pacific market edged higher this week on the back of pre-Lunar New Year holiday grain purchases and persistent coal shipments, shipping agents said. But brokers said they expected freight rates to show signs of weakness next week as several Asian countries would be on holiday. "Chartering activity will slow down next week as many countries in the Asian region close for the Chinese New Year," said one domestic broker. The Chinese New Year falls
on January 24 this year. Offices in the Chinese community are likely to remain closed for the whole week ending on January 28.
Spot freight rates for Panamax-class cargoes for the U.S. Pacific route were quoted at $17.213 per ton, up from $16.881 one week earlier. Panamax rates for the U.S. Gulf to Japan were
indicated at $21.944 a ton, down from $22.081 last week, brokers said.
The firmness in Pacific rates also reflected continued vessel demand for coal shipments from Australia
, China and Indonesia, and active Chinese buying of American soybeans, the shipping agent said.
Timecharter rates for the U.S. Gulf to Japan were quoted at $10,500-$11,000 a day against $10,000 a week ago, while rates for the Pacific round stood steady at $12,500-$13,000. - (Reuters)