Asia Dry Bulk -Capesize market faces uncertain direction on mixed sentiment
* Owners resisting charterers' attempts to push market lower -broker
* Rates slip from 5-1/2-month highs
By Keith Wallis
SINGAPORE, April 21 (Reuters) - Freight rates for large capesize dry cargo ships on key Asian routes face an uncertain outlook next week with some owners resisting charterers' attempts to push hire rates down even as freight rates nudge lower, ship brokers said.
That came after a rally this week that saw freight rates hit the highest level since early December fuelled by a flurry of chartering activity by miners including Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals.
Rates for the Brazil-China route rose to $8.95 per tonne on Wednesday, up from $7.49 per tonne on the same day last week, chartering data on the Reuters Eikon terminal showed. Rates hit $9.28 per tonne on April 18, the highest since Dec. 9.
Capesize charter rates for the Western Australia-China route climbed to $4.16 a tonne on Wednesday, against $3.74 a tonne a week ago. Rates hit $4.41 per tonne on Tuesday, the highest since Dec. 1.
Brokers however reported that a South Korean shipowner had accepted a rate of $8.35 per tonne on Thursday to haul an iron ore cargo from Brazil to China, equivalent to a loss of $102,000 on a standard 170,000 tonne cargo.
"The little rally earlier this week gave a slight bit of optimism in the market, but the way prices dropped shows how fickle the market is. There is no premium on rates for quality ships," a Singapore-based capesize broker on Thursday. Continuación...