On week 34, there was a high demand for spot tonnage in the Azov region caused by the need to close all the contracts previously agreed by August dates. As the market expected a further decline in grain prices and a subsequent increase in freight rates, consignees made it clear that there would be no contract extensions. Realizing this, shippers preferred to close contracts with shipments dates in August in order to avoid fines and losses on grain parcels already purchased. Seizing the moment, owners with open spot vessels tried to get the highest possible freight. As a result, during the reporting week, the rate level for shipments in August increased to $17 (+$1-2) per ton of wheat on the Rostov to Samsun basis, Glogos Project reports. A similar trend is also observed in the Black Sea region on the whole.
Pending the results of the Turkish Grain Board (TMO) tender, traders are in no hurry to sign contracts for September. After the tender results are announced, active negotiations will resume and deals will be concluded at the end of the 35th or early 36th week. Thus, in the first half of September, all participants will look closely at the market movement, postponing contract signing. Freight rates will not differ much from those at the end of the 34th week. Freight level may increase by $1-2 in the first week of September, but not exceeding this level, Glogos Project predicts. A significant number of vessels will open in the first days of September, and they have not yet been fixed. There is also no reason for rates to decline. Exports will continue to increase, especially in view of currency fluctuations. The fact that producers decided to hold back grains in order to sell it at higher prices in accordance with the results of the TMO tender will not affect the market significantly.
More and more grain processing companies are trying to lobby their interests in the domestic market. There is a growing talk that it is necessary to double the export duty on oil- and sunflowers seeds. Some stand for a complete ban on the export of these goods. Processing companies look at the short-term prospects for market development without taking into consideration the interests of exporters and producers. The latter will not be interested in increasing planted acreage amid the high risks in the monopolized domestic market. The introduction of export quotas will also put them at a disadvantage as prices and price formation, terms of payment and other conditions will be less attractive for them. Thus, the prevailing interests of some market players over others will negatively affect both the grain and freight market development in the region. However, the introduction of quotas starting from January next year is widely discussed.
In the past two years, monopolistic trends have already been severely felt and the Azov freight market is no more as attractive as it used to be. The rates of $30 or more are unlikely to be expected in the Black Sea region in the near future. At the same time, in the second half of the grain season this year, the recurrence of the May-June situation is possible, when the freight market was down. This will be especially challenging for owners of old and unpopular vessels.
According to Glogos Project, on week 34, freight rates for 3,000-5,000 dwt vessels for wheat parcels to the Sea of Marmara made $19 pmt from Rostov and Azov, $18 pmt from Yeisk and Taganrog, and $16 from Temryuk.
Freight rates for coal to the Sea of Marmara made $18 pmt from Rostov and Azov, $17 pmt from Yeisk and Taganrog, and $15 from Temryuk.
In the Caspian region, due to the lack of cabotage fleet, there is an increasing demand for river-sea vessels for voyages from elevators in the Middle Volga to Iranian ports with new crop barley and wheat. It is expected that during the weeks 35-36, the demand for these vessels will reach a peak, and the freight market will begin to grow rapidly. The major owners of Russian-flagged fleet are in no hurry to sign contracts for long-term dates with shipments of grain from the river. A tendency to close deals in spot is observed.
Freight rates for 3,000 dwt vessels for barley to Iran made $20 pmt from Astrakhan, $16 from Aktau and $17 pmt from Makhachkala.
Please note that the rates cited in this article are average market rates. We ask our readers to pay attention that this information is not a commercial offer and cannot be an example for comparison in commercial disputes and arbitration.