Coal-Ship Rates End Record Losing Streak as Owners Shun Cargoes

Rates to ship coal and grains snapped the longest losing streak on record amid speculation owners refused unprofitable charters at a time when rising Chinese stockpiles are curbing demand.

Daily earnings for Panamaxes hauling about 75,000 metric tons of raw materials rose for the first time in 33 sessions, ending the longest run of consecutive declines in data going back to 1999, according to the Baltic Exchange, the London-based publisher of shipping costs on more than 50 trade routes. Rates rose 0.2 percent to $6,092, figures showed today.

Owners refused to lease ships for less than they need to pay operating expenses, Clarkson Plc, the world’s largest shipbroker, said in a June 7 report. Costs such as crew and maintenance total $6,606 a day, according to Moore Stephens LLP, an industry consultant. Above-normal Chinese coal stockpiles are curbing demand for the vessels, according to Fotis Giannakoulis, an analyst at Morgan Stanley in New York.

“Chartering activity for Panamax vessels is still at low levels,” Giannakoulis said in an e-mailed report today.

Stockpiles of coal used in power plants at Qinhuangdao, a port in northeast China, rose 36 percent to 67.5 million tons since the start of May, according to Shanghai Steelhome Information Technology Co. The fuel is the largest spot cargo for Panamaxes, Morgan Stanley estimates. China is the world’s biggest importer, Clarkson data show.

The Baltic Dry Index, a broader gauge of raw materials shipping costs, rose 0.4 percent to 815, according to the exchange. All four ship types tracked rose for the first time since April 12, data show.

Daily earnings for Capesizes carrying about twice as much cargo as Panamaxes rose 1.4 percent to $5,571. Rates for Supramaxes gained 0.2 percent to $9,307 a day, and Handysizes, the smallest ship type tracked by the index, added 0.1 percent to $7,765, exchange figures show.

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