Baltic Dry Index Returns to Sub-1000 Levels

Monday December 19, 2016

Continuing a recent downward trend, the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) regressed below 1000 points last week, shedding 20 points Friday to close out the week at 946 having fallen back from an almost two year high of 1,257 set on November 18.

In terms of average spot TC rates, the Capesize segment gained $159 Friday to finish the week at earnings of $6,729 per day, while Panamax and Supramax segments were both down, falling to earnings of $8,994 per day (-$850) and $10,03 per day (-$82), respectively.

The news may well take the gloss off a positive period in an otherwise historically bad year for the sector, but market participants should take heart from comments made earlier this month at the Nordea Markets shipping seminar in London where it was suggested that, while recovery is still shaky, the worst has passed for the dry bulk shipping sector.

This more positive outlook was shared by Scorpio Bulkers Inc. (Scorpio Bulkers) President Robert Bugbee, who last year likened the market to a "50 to 200 car pile-up," but recently told the Wall Street Journal that "the market has turned from really awful, to just awful,"

"It’s got a way to go for a full recovery, but it looks like we may have gone past the bottom."

Bugbee suggests that the dry bulk market may not only be able to cover costs next year, but could also be capable of pulling profits.

"The market is fundamentally improving and barring a severe disruption to the world economy, it should be plain sailing from the second quarter onwards," said Bugbee.

In November, BDI reached 1,045 - the first time the index had been above 1000 since August 14, 2015 when it sat at 1,055.