Intermodal Weekly Market Report, Tuesday 3rd April 2017, Week 13
Market insight By Giannis Andritsopoulos
With the help of what so far appears to be a very strong grain season together with the fact that imports from China have remained so far robust in 2017, it is no wonder that momentum in the Dry Bulk market has become particularly strong, pushing second-hand and lately newbuilding prices as well to higher levels.
The speed in which second hand prices have been firming is indeed impressive across all dry bulk sizes but particularly Panamaxes and Capes, where the average monthly price for a 5-yr old vessel has increased more than 19% and 20% respectively within just one month. A very representative example of this jaw dropping increase is the sale of the Panamax ‘RED GARDENIA’ (76,294dwt-blt 05, Japan), which was sold at the end of February at $7.3m and the sale of the Panamax ‘ALESSANDRO VOLTA (76,806dwt-blt 05, Japan, sold at $10.0m last month.
This strong upward movement in second-hand prices has undoubtedly brought euphoria among owners and has given extra incentive to invest to those who have been feeling a bit insecure to do so, due to this very speedy increase in prices that has brought back memories of past asset bubbles. Saying that, there is a number of medium sized shipowners who have already moved back to the sidelines and there is a good chance to see these owners return to the second-hand market in the near future to invest in the tanker or the container market, where prices have been less strong and could probably offer achieve a bigger premium down the line compared to dry bulkers.
At the same time, collaborations between private equity funds and shipowners have been intensifying again, as the former seem to once more be intrigued by this recent positive reversal in the freight market. So if you wonder “Where did this guy find the money to buy?” the answer is most probably that a fund has provided debt or equity.
This is also the case in regards to newbuilding investments, which started to pop up here and there during the past month. Indeed, as sale candidates have decreased and in addition to the fact that prices of modern second hand tonnage have started to close the gap with the respective newbuilding price, has caused a spike in newbuilding enquiries by a big number of owners, a substantial part of which has already translated in either firm orders or discussions in the LOI stage.