Market Perspectives – December 20, 2018

Ocean Freight Comments

Transportation and Export Report: Jay O’Neil, O’Neil Commodity Consulting: The only thing that is challenging in this market is devising different ways to say that things are dull and steady. The word quiet has been used frequently to describe recent market action.

If we look back at freight rates over the past three months, we find that dry-bulk rates from the U.S. Gulf to Asia have mostly traded in a $1/ton range. This week the markets have not found reason to break out of this pattern. Even the recently announced U.S. soybean sales to China for January-February 2019 have not created enough excitement to move the needle much. Dry-bulk markets are looking for bigger volumes and more sustained demand that equates to net cargo gains, and not just a shift in shipping routes.

The charts below represent 2018 YTD totals versus 2017 annual totals for container shipments to Taiwan.