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SHIPPING NEWS.

DRY TRADE

CAPESIZE: Softening on low volumes as most major miners and end-users take limited number of vessels for immediate loading only - average spot levels slided from usd 40k to usd 37k during the week. Fronthaul route Tubarao/Qingdao down some 10% w-o-w in terms of earnings, coming in at some usd 58k/day. Similarly, the WAust/China conference trade dropped some usd 12% to end up at usd 34k/day. Operators absent to a large extent, with the exception of the period front where a very strong usd 40k basis 12 mos/prompt PASSERO delivery was concluded on 180k dwt N/B, followed by a more modest usd 35k done on 177k dwt N/B for 4-6 months basis delivery China primo/mid Oct.

PANAMAX: The Panamax market followed the trend from last week with low activity and a downward trend in both basins with an increased momentum this week. Transatlantic rounds cooling down from rates close to 30k/day to mid 20's to mid 20's. Grains from US and ECSA are not sufficient to cover the increasing number of positions including ballasters from the Far East. Fronthaul still able to cover at healthy high 30's if trading via risky Aden, Otherwise via COGH at mid 30's. Pacific under further pressure with rates descending from upper 20's towards the mid/low 20k mark steadily. One year at 24k and short period deals at 27k were done early week but takers are now holding back watching a falling spot-and paper market.

HANDYMAX: Last week ended with a significant supply of prompt tonnage some being cleared out whilst there was still healthy supply as this week began, quietly. There was a slow, but sure, increase in enquiries out of Indonesia into both India and China after recent bad weather around Kalimantan seems to have subsided. With China holidaying in the latter part of next week and beginning of October we assume owners will be covering vessels so as not to leave them opening over this period. Short period requirements have remained firm with modern Supramaxes aiming around the 23-24K level and Handies aiming around the 17K level. Nopac rounds should be around 20K level with a tick less for trips via Indonesia to India and China.

WEY TRADE

Even though many VLCC owners trading from the MEG are valiantly attempting to reverse current low rate levels, there are still enough 'soft' candidates resigned to their miserable fate for charterers to choose, thus perpetuating the present trend. In the Atlantic the VLCC market continued to be soft and quiet. The Suezmax market in WAF appears to have bottomed out and rates have steadied at albeit low levels. In the Med/Bsea the Suezmax market was soft with rates showing a slightly softer tendency. Aframaxes in the Nsea saw rates that were basically unchanged from previous low levels largely due to a lack of activity and plenty of available tonnage. Even though Aftamax earnings in the Med/Bsea are still very poor, more cargoes emerged in the market and rates made a modest improvement into the mid ws90s. The opposite was the case for Aframaxes in the Caribs where a lack of activity brought rates down.

After weeks with rates around ws125/130, the transatlantic market finally firmed as a result of a tightening of the tonnage situation, and rates are now at around ws 145/150 basis 37k m/t. Nonetheless, it seems that tonnage could become more readily available after the 23rd-24th September, and rates could either flatten out at current levels or in the worst case, decline. The LR1 market in the Baltic is holding at the ws125 level basis 60k m/t and improvements have not materialised because of a lull in activity with larger stems. The Handymax market cross NWEurope saw rates maintained at ws127.5 basis 22k m/t. In the Caribs upcoast rates improved to ws 130 basis 38k m/t mainly as a result of a backhaul market which is now at ws75 on the same quantity. An increase in tonnage availability for east of Suez positions is placing further downward pressure on rates this week. For LR2s trading MEG/Japan rates are now down to ws135 voyage.

MR rates MEG/Japan softened to ws155 basis 30k m/t, whilst MRs Spore/Japan saw tates remain steady at ws140 basis 30k m/t. Also, rates for 65k m/t jet furl cargoes MEG/UKC softened to around usd 1.85 million lumpsum.

NOCC IN $33M SWOOP

Norwegian Car Carriers (NOCC) has received a cash injection after completing a mooted bond issue.

The Lars Solbaken-led owner is raising NOK 200m ($33m) from the move which will see five-year bonds hit the Norwegian market.

Oslo Stock Exchange newcomer NOCC had revealed on last Wednesday that it was "contemplating" an issue of unsecured bonds to buy back a portion of two other bond loans.

Last Friday it revealed that the issue has been completed with an expected settlement date of 29 September meaning the bonds will mature at the end of September 2015.

"The proceeds will partly be used for repurchase of NOK 4m in the bond loan EID01 and NOK 42m face value in the bond loan EID02 PRO," last Friday's announcement read.

"The outstanding amounts after repurchase of bonds are NOK 25.5m in EID01 and NOK 28.5m in EID02 PRO."

All four sums add up to NOK 100m leaving NOCC with net proceeds of the same amount which it intends to use for general corporate purposes.

Solbaken said earlier last week that the issue would be in Norwegian kroner and aimed at private and institutional Norwegian investors.

Explaining the rationale behind the move, Solbaken said at the time that the company was trying to consolidate two loans into one.

WORLD FUEL PRICES OFFERING

World Fuel Services has priced a public offering of 7.6m new shares at $25 apiece, the company said.

The fund raising effort could generate over $200m in fresh cash for the marine and aviation bunker supplier

The US-listed company supplier has indicated that it plans to use a certain quantity of the net proceeds for acquisitions.

Chief executive Paul H Stebbins has said the company "remains committed to growth, both organically and through strategic acquisitions."

BofA Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan are serving as joint book-running managers for the offering.

World Fuel Services has said underwriters will have a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1.1m shares.

Shares of the company, valued at about $1.6bn, were down 33 US cents, or 1.3%, to $25.30 in after hours trading last Wednesday.
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Publication:Pakistan & Gulf Economist
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Sep 26, 2010
Words:1108
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