A few weeks before the end of the summer season, the BDI is hovering around 1,200 points, providing some much needed optimism to all dry bulk market participants, alleviating at the same time some of the pressure that the extremely poor market of the last months had created.
Rates in the past weeks have without a doubt reached healthier levels, heating up market talk that the bottom has been reached and that going forward the market will keep firming, pushing up asset values as well, especially in the case of modern tonnage.
It is important to note that for over a month now, sellers are fixed on their initial ideas and do not appear keen at all to negotiate at even slightly lower levels, while at the same time, candidate vessels that do not receive offers at desired levels, are not withdrawn from the market, as the upbeat sentiment is offering confidence that somewhere down the line sellers will be able to get what they want.
Simultaneously, active buyers that have been behind a number of inspections during the past couple of months, now start to feel more pressure as they do not want to lose the opportunities created before the market started recovering. As the BDI is climbing back up, sellers will try to squeeze out of their vessels as much as they can, being also helped by the intense buying interest out there.
It therefore seems that prices are bound to move up, while despite the fact that August is traditionally a quiet month in terms of SnP activity, this year might be the exception. In fact, judging from the first 10 days into the month, activity together with inspections remain ample, while most inspections nowadays lead to offers, as buyers prefer offers now rather than wait and risk the market moving further up.
This willingness on behalf of buyers, who seem to be rushing to secure a “good” deal as soon as possible, is bound to create further competition, which if combined with a steady – if not continuously firmer - market, will almost certainly start leading to higher asset values sometime in September. Saying that, the scenario in which buyers that were up until recently looking to negotiate below asking prices, could now become a bit disheartened to inspect could also come true, as they will soon become aware of the intensified competition that could in some cases result in offers not just around asking levels but even higher.
The demolition market is at the same time moving towards an entirely different direction. It has been over a month now that prices have been losing considerable ground, rendering potential sellers entirely indifferent to the scrapping option, while in the case of dry bulk vintage tonnage, the improvement of the market has added to the refusal of owners to further consider scrapping. Opposite to the SnP market, expectations here are negative overall, with the main market hurdles, namely cheap Chinese steel, remaining well in place and expected to push prices to even lower levels in the following months.
So in a nutshell, we could definitely say that the first half of the year was the “scrapping” half, and the second one has kicked off with a lot of potential to become the “buying” half.