BALTIC INDEX UP FOR TENTH STRAIGHT SESSION ON HIGHER CAPESIZE RATES
The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose for a tenth straight session on Tuesday, helped by higher rates for capesize vessels.
The overall index, which also factors in rates for panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, ended up 13 points, or 1.18 percent, at 1,112 points. The capesize index gained 86 points, or 4.67 percent, to close at 1,929 points. Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, raised $607 to $14,250, the highest level since December 1. The panamax index fell by 22 points, or 1.82 percent, to end at 1,185 points. Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tones, decreased $170 to $9,527. Among smaller vessels, the supramax index rose two points to finish at 877 points, while the handysize index climbed three points to end at 502 points.
EXPANDING FUEL SHIPMENTS INTENSIFY COMPETITION FROM EUROPE TO ASIA
Expanding fuel shipments from the Persian Gulf will intensify competition from Europe to Asia, squeezing profits across the global refining industry and contributing to a looming glut of oil products.
As Saudi Arabia, Iran and other crude suppliers build new oil-processing plants and upgrade old ones, the Gulf region is poised to become a net exporter of refined products as soon as this year.
This heralds a tougher contest for sales between state companies in the Gulf, the trading houses that currently supply them and Asian refiners that are also boosting exports. European refiners are set to lose out as newer rivals from the Middle East, India and China vie with them for sales. Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi have built export-oriented refineries with a combined capacity of almost 1.4 million barrels a day over the last four years, and the Gulf region is already selling diesel in Europe.
VLCC LOADINGS OF FORTIES CRUDE SET TO CONTINUE
The steady stream of March VLCC loadings of Forties crude at the Hound Point terminal looks set to continue in earnest, despite persistent doubt about demand from Far Eastern refiners.
According to trading source, the DHT Lion will commence a co-load for Glencore next Tuesday. Glencore holds the Forties cargoes loading March 19-21, March 20-22 and March 21-23. The DHT Lion loading will be the fourth of five expected VLCC loadings at Hound Point this month, with the DHT Europe expected to load for Shell around March 25.
The Gener8 Hercules is currently loading for Shell while the Baltic Glory and Desimi loaded earlier in the month for Glencore and Vitol, respectively. Ordinarily, VLCC loadings are seen as a positive bellwether for the North Sea physical market as they normally head to the Far East and imply good demand for Forties barrels from that region.
LA PORT BOX VOLUME PLUNGES 12PC
The Port of Los Angeles handled 625,381 TEU in February compared to 713,721 TEU a year ago, a decrease of 12.4 percent. There were 298,974 full cargo containers that landed at the port, 19.8 cent down on February last year’s figure.
However, loaded containers that left the port increased by 6 percent from 146,488 TEU to 155,357 TEU. Empty containers handled during February totaled 171,048 TEU, down 12 per cent compared to last year. The August 31 bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd., had a part to play as much of the cargo originally meant for Hanjin’s Port of Long Beach terminal was redirected to LA’s terminals instead. The Port of Long Beach also saw a decline in the month of February.
AADA CUTS ASIA-OZ BUNKER SURCHARGE
Container shipping lines participating in the Asia Australia Discussion Agreement (AADA) have announced that the bunker surcharge level for shipments from Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to ports in Australia will be cut to US$275 per TEU and $550 per FEU for dry and refrigerated containers, starting from April 16.
In a notice to the trade, the AADA said that the cut in bunker surcharge comes in response to the decrease in the price of oil in Hong Kong and South Korea. AADA members applying the revised bunker surcharge are: ANL Singapore, APL, Cosco Shipping, Evergreen Line, Hamburg Sud, Hanjin Shipping, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC), Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), Pacific International Line (PIL), TS Line, and Yang Ming Line.
ASIA FUEL OIL-CASH DISCOUNTS NARROW AWAY
Cash discounts of Asia’s 380-cst fuel oil narrowed away from an 8-month low in the previous session but concerns of ample supplies still weighed as suppliers continued to offer aggressive discounts on cargoes.
Trade activity in physical cargoes dropped back to three trades in the Platts window totaling 40,000 tons of 380-cst fuel oil as well as 20,000 tones of 180-cst fuel. On Tuesday, a total of 240,000 tons of fuel oil traded in the window through 11 deals. Traders said ample stocks of the industrial fuel are prompting suppliers to place aggressive offers while demand has so far failed to lift cash differentials higher as bullish participants struggled to gain momentum.
By contrast, firm demand bunker fuels demand kept ex-wharf premiums of 380-cst fuel at a near 2-week high of $2.35 a ton above Singapore quotes. It is said at least one ex-wharf parcel of the 380-cst fuel was sold on Wednesday at $287 a ton.