Capes & Supras surge. Baltic Dry Indices: Week 17 commentary.

by Dave Walker


The Handysize Index decline shrank even further in the 4-day Week 17, showing a very tight 3-point range to fix at 389, almost level with the previous week’s fix. What optimism may be drawn from this is hard to say.

The RSI climbed into divergence, forging up through neutrality and maybe offering further optimism. As with previous weeks the MACD has cruised along almost level, staying just above the signal line since crossing it in Weeks 12-13.

Even with some slight technical optimism, there seems to be little in the way of upward-moving incentive so far. As we watch our lower 300s downside mark, the RSI divergence and slowed downtrend may yet brighten the day for the Handies.


Gapping up almost 20 points at the Week 17 open, the Supramax Index surged almost 30 points to its 780 Friday fix. This puts the index just over the threshold of the 775 – 875 resistance ideas that have been on our radar since Week 7.

The RSI at 54.44 reinforced the index strength while the MACD pulled away from its lean towards the signal line and bullishly followed the rest of the pack.

After casting our chicken bones and testing the wind, the strength of this Supra surge could develop some support around the low 700s, up from our previous 550 – 600 thoughts from Week 15. Let’s see what strength our 775 – 875 resistance ideas may have after showing some muscle back in Week 13.


A gap up and further strength marked the Panamax Index for Week 17. Fixing at 1186 after a 15-point climb, the progress through the week was steady. The tighter range may indicate some loss of index momentum, but recent strength has so far been on the Panamaxes’ side.

The RSI gained to a strong 57.07 to boost the index as the lagging MACD continued with little wavering to be seen. Back in Week 8 we made noises about possible resistances around the 900 / 975 – 1000 regions, both visible during the recent index climb. Registering as consolidating areas along the way, these points gave the stair-step effect we’ve seen in the Panamaxes before.

The overall strength in the Panamaxes may still have steam, and could see support building in the 975 -1000 zone. Our next resistance target is in the 1350 – 1400 region, although some attraction may still exist around that 975 – 1000 area.


For Week 17 the Capesize Index took a more Cape-like surge, with a sizable gap up and fix at 783 after climbing over 200 points. We’re watching with great interest as the index approaches our Week 14 upside resistance target in the 1000 – 1200 range.

The RSI surged with the index, climbing out of bottoming values to reach 29.71 and hopefully further strength. The heavily negative MACD barely crossed the signal line into bullish hopefulness.

While there may be no champagne corks popping yet, Week 17 was a ray of hope amidst the general Capesize uncertainty. Should the index strength continue, our 1000 – 1200 zone resistance thoughts may just be a chart footnote…..hopefully.

Dirty Tankers fizzle, Clean Tankers shine a light. Baltic Tanker Indices: Week 17 commentary.

by Dave Walker


The Clean Tanker Index took a positive turn on Week 17, eclipsing the previous week’s range to fix at 584. Our ideas of index optimism were somewhat reinforced but we won’t jump to conclusions yet, given such a small week 17 range. All the same, the chart could still have a very messy Morning Star Doji forming.

The RSI stayed in the neutral zone, rising slightly to 41.23 to maintain its diverging attitude. Following the index a little, the MACD‘s downtrend eased very slightly to more-or-less parallel its signal line.

Overall, the slight bullishness has the index consolidating around the pre-spike lows of Weeks 9 & 10. Even with a diverging RSI, this slight recovery just above our mid-500s support thoughts may be tempered by possible resistance in the 625 – 650 zone.


The recent enthusiasm in the Dirty Tanker Index fizzled a little in Week 17, with the index fixing down overall at 640 after seeing a low of 635. Some consolidation may develop as a result of this stumble, and our wild ideas of a reach to 900-zone values are growing dimmer.

Still in nether region values, the RSI rose to 18.43 as the MACD kept on a more shallow trajectory, gradually closing on its signal line. Both indicators hint at weakening bearishness, but as with recent weeks the index has paid scant attention to them.

The index rise towards the end of the week was encouraging however, and as before we’re watching our 675 – 700 target for possible resistance. Should the Week 17 weakness persist, our mid-500s support thoughts from back in Week 12’s comments are always waiting for us.

Marine Insurance… a ship owner’s perspective

by Simon Beechinor FCILT

I’m mindful of the traditional relationship between the ship owner or operator and their insurer, which is one aspect of the maritime industry that hasn’t changed much over many decades.

However, momentous change is coming to the industry as modern technologies are adopted. Industry participants are seeing many of the old commercial relationships change or become irrelevant. Just as a company’s board of directors need to bridge the gap between their strategy and the ‘shop floor’, so a ship owner needs an insurer that strives to bridge the gap between them.

The maritime sector, to a greater or lesser extent, continues to suffer a decline in standards of training and knowledge both at sea and within management’s offices ashore. The industry often seems to blame its woes, or costs, on the quality of seafarers while perhaps forgetting that management ashore is solely responsible for that. This situation, isn’t going to improve any time soon.

Insurers are still one of the few remaining repositories of industry experience, such as it is – and it’s in everyone’s interest if that experience is applied before, during and after a loss. At a time when we all struggle to juggle costs, insurers included, an insurer’s practical knowledge and experience is needed now, on deck, and more than ever.

The maritime sector would benefit enormously if insurers placed the assured, and not just the policy, at the centre of their client relationship. Today, few ship owners consider themselves a loyal customer of their insurance provider. If it wasn’t for the restrictive practices of the International Group’s P&I Clubs, for example, this indifference may be even more apparent. From an owner’s perspective, there is often little to choose between individual marine insurers.

Today and in the future, the relationship that insurers have with their assured should be much more customer-centric. This is a big challenge for marine insurers when so many have relatively little contact with their clients.

Some insurers clearly do try to communicate but it’s often not effective. Insurers usually aren’t good at communicating the unique and relevant value which they can and could bring to their clients.

Ship owners, or prudent ones at least, consider a range of factors when selecting their insurers. The key factors in choosing an insurer are: financial stability; premiums; claims handling efficiency AND service… but real service is often hard to find when the insurer is so remote.

Insurers could look much closer at identifying ‘bottlenecks’, or constraints, that exist in their relationship with their assured and which serve to drive up costs. Ship owners and operators would benefit enormously if insurers collaborated much more and really embedded their potential at the heart of maritime operations.

By way of example three common ‘bottlenecks’, and by no means the only ones, that drive up costs for both the ship owner and the insurer are: loss prevention, risk management and project management activities.

Some insurers already do much more than others to try and add value. Loss prevention initiatives, for example, are a terrific opportunity to communicate and add relevant value to a client – but this opportunity is often squandered. Loss prevention initiatives are regularly not communicated adequately. We often see Loss Prevention Bulletins simply posted on the insurer’s web site with little in the way of further announcement. It is then incumbent on a client to search out these bulletins and distribute them throughout their business – which may or may not be done.

The benefits of improving the flow of information and experience between the insurer and the assured, lie in that information being used in the right place and at the right time. Information is needed by the managers and officers, ashore and afloat, who are planning and managing specific operations – as well as the insurer. But the benefits are too easily forgotten or ignored, we know this because our claims record reflects our failures. If good practice isn’t communicated and used by the insurer and the assured at the right time, then it has been a waste of effort… and money.

We can argue that it isn’t the insurer’s job to ensure the loss prevention, risk or project management initiatives hit the right place at the right time – but it’s certainly in their interests if they do. If information is communicated effectively (a) more claims may be averted, (b) the cost of claims may be reduced, and (c) the insurer will have successfully exploited marketing opportunities to communicate ‘relevance’ to their clients.

Ship owners and operators aren’t notably loyal to insurance providers. The more engaged a customer is with a brand, then the more loyal they are. Marine insurance companies need to know their clients well. Providers that don’t know their clients can’t use insights to deliver value and they can’t extract cost from their relationship with clients.

This would ensure the insurer is, and is seen to be, a much more valued business partner.

Simon Beechinor FCILT  is a Commercial Operations Director, Project Manager and Master Mariner with extensive senior management experience of the maritime industries. His background includes the management of a major shipping company as Commercial Operations Director, and subsequently CEO, of a large marine consultancy and cargo services company based in S.E Asia and a Pacific-based regional liner trade. @strathmayltd

Capes brighten further, Handies fade. Baltic Dry Indices: Week 16 commentary.

by Dave Walker


For Week 16 the retreat in the Handysize index shrank somewhat, with a small gap down at open and a tight 9-point range that trickled down to a 390 Friday fix.

Even as the index continued to drop, the RSI showed some divergence as it rose to 36.10 and a hint of coming strength. The flattish MACD crept closer to the signal line, following the fading index.

Our previous comments about a weakening downturn may be gaining some credibility with Week 16’s action, but as before we’re keeping a watchful eye on the lower 300s, just in case.


In Week 16 the Supramax Index climbed, almost cancelling out the previous week’s decline to fix at 732. Our recent comments about a weakening downswing gained some credence with the move.

The RSI and MACD both ticked upwards with Week 16’s action, the RSI showing a stronger-than-neutral 44.40 and the MACD turning away from a possibly bearish signal line crossing.

One swallow does not a summer make, and our ideas of support building at the 550-600 area are still a possibility. Should some index strength develop after the recent turn down from our 775 – 875 resistance zone, that same zone could become upside resistance again.


The Panamax Index surged in Week 16 to clear recent consolidation and fix at 1162. Overall strength in the index has helped it through our 975 – 1000 resistance thoughts

The RSI gained to reach 50.97 as the lagging MACD surged uninterrupted on its bullish run. In recent history the RSI in the mid-to-upper 60s has indicated peakishness, so a watchful eye is on this indicator.

After this push by the Panamaxes through our 975 – 1000 resistance zone, the peakish signs appear to be building but we may have some climbing room yet. We’ll also watch the recent resistance area for lingering influence.


For Week 16 the gloom in the Capesize Index lifted a little further, seeing a gap up and rise to a 490 fix. The tight range of only 45 points may reflect some cautious steps in the face of such fragile fundamentals for the Capes.

The RSI rose to “normal” bottoming values at 24.27 and the MACD parked on the doorstep of bullishness, almost crossing its signal line.

Our 1000 – 1200 upside target is still on the radar while the Capes struggle to rise from the mud. A failure to reach that zone is a possibility as we watch for weakness to creep in. Some consolidation, even just below the target, would be a welcome sight.

Dirty Tankers push further, Clean Tankers dither. Baltic Tanker Indices: Week 16 commentary.

by Dave Walker


For Week 16 the Clean Tanker Index stayed within a tight 10-point range to fix at 576. The chart showed an interesting formation as it paused just above our mid-500s support ideas. A Morningstar Doji could be imagined but it’s a little messy for candlestick purists, being not much more than a spot (or blemish?) on the chart.

The RSI kept within neutral territory, but weakened somewhat in its divergence from the general downtrend. The lagging MACD entered negative values and continued to tail off, fading away from the signal line.

The chart formation and diverging RSI this close to our mid-500s support thoughts may be hinting at improvement in index fortunes. Should Week 17 prove more bullish, we’re watching the 625 – 650 area for any upside resistance. For the downside, the mid-500s may still hold some sway. It’s worth noting that the index is currently at the same value as the previous two lows in late 2018 and early 2019.


The Dirty Tanker Index picked up where it left off for Week 16, opening at the previous week’s fix at 639. A more contained range saw the Friday fix at 653, with the index showing some more attraction to our 675-700 zone.

The RSI, still in the bottoming zone, lifted further to 16.50. The MACD curved away from the downtrend, angling a little further towards its signal line. The index has been technically bottoming for about a month now, so is it now paying attention to the indicators? (No laughing from the back row please – thank you.)

With the recent wavering in the index, the likelihood of reaching our 900-area upside resistance thoughts seems more distant. For now our eyes are on our aforementioned 675 – 700 region, which may be developing as a resistance zone.

Capes flicker, other Baltics retreat. Baltic Dry Indices: Week 15 commentary.

by Dave Walker


In Week 15 the Handysize Index continued its retreat from our Week 8 upper-400s resistance ideas. Gapping down on the weekly open, the index fell to fix at 403.

The RSI stayed flattish at 33.72, just outside bottoming values. The MACD weakened and flattened out after its recent crossing to the bullish side of the signal line.

This recent Handysize weakness has us eyeballing the lower 300s level once more, although a slowdown in the downtrend might help in gaining some lost ground.


A tighter range marked the Supramax Index for Week 15, as the index retreated further from our Week 7 775-875 resistance ideas. After a 9-point gap down at open, the downtrend to the 711 Friday fix was more restrained.

Just below neutral ground at 38.97, the RSI stayed flat with the MACD pausing after a bullish signal line crossing.

The weakness in the Supras has us casting glances at the low 400s region again, but perhaps the present downturn doesn’t have the same death-grip as the previous one. Some support in the 550-600 range may start to develop should the latest downswing weaken further.


The Panamax Index retreated in Week 15, showing some consolidation signs around our Week 8 975-1000 resistance zone. Displaying some weakness, the index fell to fix at 1073, gapping down slightly at its 1101 open.

The RSI rose slightly to a neutral 40.71 as the still-negative MACD strayed slightly from its bullish course.

With some slight signs of peakishness showing, we’re still watching for any strength as the index wavers around our 975-1000 resistance thoughts. Our eyes are also on the 900 region, where the index paused briefly in Weeks 10 & 11. A welcome sign would be some consolidation building in these areas.


Amidst the gloom of industry fundamentals, the Capesize Index gave us another ray of sunshine in Week 15, gapping up and rising to a 418 fix.

The RSI also struggled out of the mud, rising to a still-bottomish 22.03 while the MACD crept up on its signal line and a possibly bullish crossing.

More upward pressure and a reach for our 1000-1200 resistance target are still a possibility. Do the Capes have the strength to make any significant rise from the depths and attempt a breakthrough? The next few weeks may tell a tale or two.

Dirty Tankers pause to breathe; Clean Tankers ease their plunge. Baltic Tanker Indices: Week 15 commentary

by Dave Walker


A fix at 586, after a gap-down at open and a tighter range, marked the Clean Tanker Index for Week 15. After pushing upwards through our 675-700 resistance ideas only to retreat, in Week 15 the index leaned a little more towards our old mid-500s support thoughts from January.

Even as the index fell the RSI continued to diverge, reaching up to 42.01 and hinting at a possible break in the down turn. The MACD slavishly followed the index of course, and turned away from its bullish reach towards the signal line.

The mid-500s area continues to be a target for now, but we’re watching the RSI divergence with some interest, given the tightened range in Week 15.


For Week 15 the Dirty Tanker Index took a hop upwards. A near-30 point run fixed at 639, eclipsing Week 14’s range. Amongst the bottoming signs, perhaps our gloomier thoughts of support in the mid-500s have been pre-empted by some attraction to the 675-700 zone.

The RSI at least rose out of single digits, but stayed in heavily bottoming territory at 11.97. With such a heavy downturn recently the MACD charged further into negative values, with just a slight divergence to acknowledge the index pause.

Should support strength develop in our closely-watched mid-500s zone, we may see further attraction to (or possibly some pushing through) the 675-700 area. Our next upside resistance target (should such wild ideas occur) is in the 900 region.

Capesize blip, Handies & Supras weaken. Baltic Dry Indices: Week 14 commentary.

by Dave Walker


In Week 14 the Handysize Index gave more credence to our resistance ideas around the upper 400s. We first identified this zone as around 500 back in Week 8. Falling away from the Week 13 high of 467, it turned down and fell to a 432 Friday fix.

The RSI tailed off a little to settle at a still-weak 33.92 as the MACD also flattened out after crossing to the bullish side of the signal line in Week 13.

At the moment, it appears that the Handies may not have the strength to push higher and penetrate our upside resistance thoughts. Amidst signs of temporary peakiness as we cast our chicken bones and pixie dust, there remains the hope for some consolidation after the welcome (but partial) recovery.


The clouds grew darker for the Supramax Index in Week 14, after spending the last month wavering in our 775-875 upside resistance zone that we first proposed back in Week 7. Gapping down slightly on the open, the index fell 65 points to fix at 742.

The RSI tailed off to just below neutrality at 38.97 while the freshly bullish MACD also weakened in strength.

With Week 14’s strong retreat, it remains to be seen whether the index continues to turn down or displays some attraction to our 775-875 zone in a consolidation move. Should things turn gloomier we are casting a jaundiced eye towards the lower 400s area for possible support (…perish the thought).


The Panamax Index paused in Week 14, staying in a tight 17-point range. From a 1110 open to an 1127 peak and fix at 1114, the index hinted at some consolidation. Our Week 13 thoughts of possible resistance at these levels may have gained a little traction.

The lagging MACD continued on a bullish path while the RSI flattened out at a neutral-ish 38.89, barely above Week 13 values.

After pushing slightly through Week 8’s resistance ideas in the 975-1000 range, (and a weak resistance area around 900) the slight signs of peakishness are creating a little unease. We’re watching to see if the Panamaxes have enough strength to clear our resistance hurdle.


A recovery to a 276 fix marked the Capesize Index for Week 14. This mere blip in the big picture was probably little comfort to shipowners. A slightly encouraging sign was the barely-visible lower wick on the Week 14 candlestick that marked the horrendous low of 92. With the index not showing any revival signs until late in the week, the hope is for a forthcoming pick-up in momentum.

The RSI rose into normal bottoming territory at 20.57 as the heavily negative MACD flattened out further, wandering closer to the signal line.

Yes, bottoming territory indeed, but where next for the Capes? With our initial upside target (and possible resistance) in the 1000-1200 area, that leaves a fair amount of space for the index to dribble around in. A characteristic index snap-back blowing through our initial target would be a welcome sight, but those nasty Capesize fundamentals might betray us yet.

Clean Tankers snap. Baltic Tanker Indices: Week 14 commentary.

by Dave Walker


With a near-straight line decline in Week 14 the Clean Tanker Index plunged to a 614 fix, making our Week 13 comments about slowing momentum and 675-700 zone attraction a little – *cough* – understated.

After the recent surge, a bungee-cord effect around that 675-700 zone appears to have kicked in. The MACD turned away hard from its bullish run at the signal line as the RSI flirted with bottoming values, reaching 31.89.

With this marked turn in the index away from our Week 10 resistance target, we may see some snap-back. However, we’re watching our old mid-500s support ideas from Week 3’s comments just in case.


Week 14 continued the down-trend for the Dirty Tanker Index, with a gap down and steady decline that flattened out near week’s end to a 617 fix. The slightly tighter range on the week has us watching our 675-700 support ideas for some influence.

Meanwhile the index continued to thumb its nose at the indicators. As the RSI fell into the lower single digits at 4.55 the lagging MACD faithfully followed the index plunge into the cellar.

Now that the index is tapping on the lows seen in early 2018, the heavy weakness has us eyeballing the mid-500s region for possible support as we mentioned in Week 12’s commentary. Our 675-700 zone may play a part in any recovery, but at the moment the index appears determined to test these lows.