* Charterers pushing rates down on Thursday - broker
* Year-end recovery elusive - broker
* Average earnings now $14,000 a day, against $20,000-$25,000 forecast at start of year - broker
By Keith Wallis
SINGAPORE, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Rates for capesize bulk carriers on key Asian routes are likely to continue their fall next week as charterers keep a tight rein on cargo volumes in what is becoming an over-tonnaged market, brokers said.
The drop in freight rates, which are at their lowest level for six weeks, meant optimism of a traditional fourth-quarter market rebound is evaporating, brokers said.
"I don't see how it can improve. Vale can take 10 ships and it's not going to make much difference" because there is so much tonnage available, said a Singapore-based capesize ship broker on Thursday.
"There are two or three weeks left of fixing for this year. I can't see a recovery by the end of this year and not early next year either. It's a bit of a bleak picture."
"Average capesize earnings for this year are about $14,000 a day. People were forecasting an average of $20,000-$25,000 a day at the start of the year."
"My expectations are not good. By the end of this year, there should be some support but I'm not that optimistic," said a Shanghai-based ship broker on Thursday.
Charterers were pushing rates down on Thursday, seeking offers at under $8 per tonne from Australia to China and $17.50 per tonne from Brazil to China, the Singapore broker said.
Freight rates for the Western Australia-China route were at $8.27 per tonne on Wednesday, down from $8.80 a week earlier, and the lowest since Oct. 20.
Rates for the Brazil-China route closed at $18.49 on Wednesday, also the lowest since Oct. 20, against $21.70 last week.
Rates in the smaller panamax market will also drop next week as the number of ships seeking cargo outpaces the number of cargoes coming into the market, a Singapore-based panamax broker said on Thursday.
"There is still a lot of tonnage available. The further we get into December, the weaker the market is going to feel," he said.
Rates for a panamax transpacific voyage slipped to $9,284 per day on Wednesday, against $9,602 last week, continuing the decline that started on Nov. 3.
Freight rates for smaller supramax bulk carriers have remained strong this week with rates at around $11,000 per day from China to India, Norwegian ship broker Fearnley said in a weekly note on Wednesday.
The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index closed at 1,239 on Wednesday, down from 1,306 last week. (Reporting By Keith Wallis; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)