Capesizes End Nine-Day Winning Streak Amid Slowing China Demand

Returns for Capesize ships, the biggest carriers of iron ore, fell for the first time after a nine-day winning streak amid speculation Chinese demand to charter vessels slowed.

Daily average returns slid 1.6 percent to $6,195, figures from the London-based Baltic Exchange showed today. The drop was the biggest since April 23 for Capesizes, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Each of the ships can hold more than 150,000 metric tons of the ore, a steelmaking raw material.

Steel stockpiles at Chinese ports are near the highest in a year, according to data from Shanghai Steelhome Information, a researcher based in the city. China’s inventories of hot-rolled coil rose to the highest level in 12 months on April 5, the data showed. Falling iron-ore prices and ample cargoes spurred Chinese buying of the mineral and lifted rates for Capesizes, according to Dominic Meredith Hardy, an analyst at Galbraith’s Ltd., a London-based shipbroker.

“This week fixtures seem to have dried up,” Hardy said by e-mail today. “Chinese mills will continue to buy while prices are cheap however, we will need to see demand for steel justify this soon in order for buying to continue. At this time, it looks like demand to book Capesizes has slowed as steel mills are taking stock after their recent buying of iron ore.”

The Baltic Dry Index, a broader measure of raw-materials freight rates, slipped 0.3 percent to 889, exchange data showed. Returns for Panamaxes, the largest vessels to navigate the Panama Canal, lost 0.1 percent to $7,943 a day. The vessels last made a daily increase in returns on April 22.

Daily earnings for Supramax vessels slipped 0.3 percent to $9,091, according to the exchange. Handysizes, the smallest ships tracked by the index, added 0.5 percent to $8,122, climbing to the highest return this year.

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