* Brazil-China capesize rates hit seven-month high
* Pacific capesize market dragged by buoyant tonnage supply
By Keith Wallis
SINGAPORE, July 23 (Reuters) - Freight rates for capesize bulk carriers are likely to hold steady next week although a rush of cargo in the Atlantic would again provide the trigger for rates to move higher, ship brokers said.
That came after a surge in Atlantic and transatlantic cargoes boosted capesize freight rates from Brazil to China by almost $2 a tonne to a seven-month high this week.
The increase was equivalent to a rise in time charter earnings of about $4,500 per day, according to British shipping services firm Clarkson.
“All eyes (are on the Atlantic),” said a Singapore-based capesize broker. There is room for optimism with healthy cargo volumes anticipated in the Atlantic and transatlantic, the broker said.
Fixtures by Oldendorff, Cargill and Vale helped push rates higher in the Atlantic this week, Reuters chartering data showed.
But a Shanghai-based capesize broker was more pessimistic about the outlook next week with the last Brazil-China charter concluded at $14.50 a tonne.
“The market is stable but I don’t see support to push the market up,” the Shanghai broker said.
In the Pacific capesize rates could remain at around current levels, brokers said.
“$6 is the ceiling which is not overly surprising given the Pacific is always under pressure because of the volume of ships,” the Singapore broker said.
Charter rates for the Western Australia-China route were around $5.98 on Wednesday, higher than $5.56 per tonne last week.
Rates for the Brazil-China route climbed to $14.75 per tonne on Wednesday, up from $13 per tonne last Wednesday, the highest since Dec. 9.
Freight rates for smaller panamax vessels are expected to nudge lower after they rose to their highest in more than seven months this week on strong iron ore cargo volumes, a Singapore-based panamax ship broker said on Thursday.
“It feels a bit shaky,” the panamax broker said. “There’s not much cargo around for forward dates.”
Rates for a transpacific voyage rose to $8,192 per day on Wednesday, up from $7,507 per day a week earlier, the highest since Dec. 3.
Freight rates for smaller supramax vessels remained firm this week with rates of between $7,000-$8,000 per day for coal cargoes from India to China, Norwegian ship broker Fearnley said in a note on Wednesday.
The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index was up at 1,118 on Wednesday, compared with 951 last Wednesday, and may rise towards the next resistance at 1,254, according to technical analysis. (Reporting by Keith Wallis; Editing by Sunil Nair)