Freight rates for shipping coal from northern China ports to the south suffered a sharper decline from the second half of last month, data showed from industry portal sxcoal.com.
Historically, the freight rates always remain low when the Lunar New Year draws near. During the month of 2017 Lunar New Year holiday that started January 28, freights for 50,000-60,000 DWT vessels on route of Qinhuangdao-Guangzhou averaged 29.25 yuan/t, a far cry from 35.99 yuan/t in December 2016.
Besides the factor of the slack season, both traders and power plants were more prudent of coal purchases after the central government issued the 750-yuan/t price ceiling from February 5, as they were not sure about policy changes next.
On February 12, freight of 50,000-60,000 DWT vessels from Qinhuangdao to Guangzhou stood at 30.5 yuan/t, a new low since 30.4 yuan/t on May 12, falling straightly by 28.7 yuan/t from the recent high of 59.2 yuan/t on January 24.
On the same day, freight rate of 40,000-50,000 DWT vessels from Qinhuangdao to Shanghai port was 22.3 yuan/t, falling into the lowest since 22 yuan/t on February 8, 2017; that on route of Qinhuangdao-Ningbo for 15,000-20,000 DWT vessels at 33.1 yuan/t, down 29.2 yuan/t from the recent high of 69.3 yuan/t on January 23.
Freight rate of Qinhuangdao-Zhangjiagang route on 20,000-30,000 DWT basis dropped to 30.1 yuan/t on February 12, down 30.8 yuan/t from 60.9 yuan/t on January 24.
Rate on route from Qinhuangdao to Fuzhou decreased 11.6 yuan/t from the month's beginning to 31 yuan/t, on 30,000-40,000 DWT basis.
Routes from other northern ports like Tianjin, Jingtang and Huanghua also showed the same trend. Freight rate of 30,000-40,000 DWT vessels from Huanghua to Shanghai stood at 23.9 yuan/t on February 12, down 16.8 yuan/t from 40.7 yuan/t on January 31.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Harry Huo)
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