Commodity Corner

Views on commodities and energy

from Krishna Das:

ANALYSIS-Small ships to unlock rate boon for bulk owners

By Krishna N Das and Jonathan Saul

BANGALORE/LONDON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Dry cargo shippers with smaller vessels are shifting to more-risk, more-reward spot markets, eyeing rising demand for sugar and grains -- commodities well suited to versatile supramax and handysize ships.

Ship owners generally prefer long-term charters in a weak market. The Baltic Dry Index <.BADI> o-year lows in recent weeks but confidence has been rocked by South Korean dry bulk group Korea Line Corp <005880.KS> filing for bankruptcy protection, highlighting the risk of charter-party defaults.

"Concerns now persist industry-wide, as speculation grows as to whether faults," Deutsche Bank analyst Justin Yagerman said.

"Continued charterer defaults could bring into question many companies' above-market charters." Flooding in Australia, the world's biggest coal exporter, and weather-srupted coal shipments and dented sentiment for capesize vessels -- the giants of seaborne trade routes, typically hauling 150,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal.

from Summit Notebook:

No more green shoots, but lots of bottoms

From the start, "green shoots of recovery" was not necessarily the British government's wisest choice of words and after a few months of being on everyone's lips, has given way to a more lowly metaphor.
Business Minister Baroness Vadera raised the hackles of the political opposition in January when she spotted "a few green shoots" on a day of large-scale job losses and collapsing share prices.
Evidence of economic revival is still elusive, but there are ever louder hints that we have at least seen the worst -- or bottomed, to use the mot du jour.
Bottom as a noun and a verb was widely brandished by speakers attending Reuters Global Energy Summit this week, who based on their analysis on a slight increase in available credit, a tentative pick up in energy demand and rising commodity prices.
OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri has an interest in spotting the kind of confidence that has driven oil prices up from a low below $35 a barrel in December to almost double that.
"I have no doubt that the recession has bottomed out, but is it a V shape or a U shape?" he asked during a Reuters summit session.
Others were less convinced and the most bearish of them all was a representative of the very oversupplied tanker market, where freight rates have sunk to their lowest levels in decades, with not a green shoot in sight.
"We have seen lower than the bottom," said Erik Ranheim, a manager at oil tanker association Intertanko.