Pacific Tiger rates set to continue burning bright.
Panamax rates for tonnage in the Pacific are set to leap further ahead this week, with the sprint that started just before China celebrated the Year of the Tiger showing no sign of slowing, brokers said.
?With most owners preferring to fix grain cargoes from South America there are relatively fewer owners wanting to fix north Pacific round voyages and voyages back to the Continent,? said one Singapore-based broker.
He added: ?Consequently, this tightness in vessel supply is stoking Pacific rates.
?Grain cargoes from the east coast of South America are the fuel that"s keeping the market alight.?
A Hong Kong-based broker agreed and pointed out that rates for a north Pacific voyage were already above index levels and could really jump ahead when April"s coal fixtures come out.
?Owners are seeking around $33,000-$34,000 per day for a north Pacific voyage while the index on Monday was around $31,772 per day,? he said.
By comparison, brokers had expected to see more modest gains last week. The Singapore broker said: ?Rates for a north Pacific voyage rose about $8,000 over the course of last week, while back haul from the Far East to the Continent climbed by about $2,000.?
However, the Hong Kong broker said: ?At the moment all eyes are on the Pacific panamax coal trade from Australia.?
He explained that there had been an on-going preference for panamax vessels for March fixtures.
However, fixtures for April loading have yet to come out and the broker predicted that the market could really hop when chartering activity increases to coincide with the start of the new financial year.
The broker said that while the tonnage list was ?a little tight?, congestion in Australia and China was continuing to leave its mark. ?Five ships a day are coming free in China whereas we would normally expected to see around 15. Congestion is having an impact,? he said.
Brokers said the coal fixtures included the 2000-built, 74,005 dwt Inter Pride, fixed by Iino for a voyage from eastern Australia to Japan at $29,000 per day.
K Line fixed the 2007-built, 75,510 dwt Imperial for a voyage from Indonesia to Japan at the higher rate of $29,900 per day.
Brokers said the coal cargoes have been augmented with several north Pacific grain cargoes. These include Danzas, which fixed the 2007-built, 76,500 dwt Lady Maria Luisa for a north Pacific voyage to China at $30,000 per day.
With spot rates climbing, brokers said there was burgeoning interest in short period business. ?One is helping to support the other,? the Singapore broker said, while the rival Hong Kong broker added: ?Most owners are only interested in either spot grain cargoes or short period fixtures.?
The Singapore broker said rates for four to six months had climbed to around $33,000 per day, while rates for an 11-13 month charter had risen to around $27,000-$28,000 per day, the same level as for a six-month charter just a week earlier.