Deutsche Bank initiated coverage of the equity with a "buy" rating. The positive note is a breath of fresh air for the stock -- it's off 37% in 2014, and prior to today boasted no "buy" endorsements. Sentiment surrounding DryShips Inc. may be shifting, as its International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) 10-day call/put volume ratio of 47.06 ranks in the 95th percentile of its annual range, implying that calls have been picked up at a faster-than-normal rate in the past two weeks.
Shanghai - A reported $81 billion injection into China's major banks is probably the first of a series of fresh stimulus measures by Beijing to bolster its flagging economy, the world's second largest, analysts said Wednesday.
Online portal Sina late Tuesday quoted financial institutions as saying the People's Bank of China (PBoC), the central bank, would channel 500 billion yuan ($81 billion) into the country's five biggest banks, all state-owned. The PBoC has not confirmed the move.
“We believe Beijing (is) to introduce a slew of other easing and stimulus measures in coming weeks to re-boost confidence and re-stabilise growth,” said Bank of America Merrill Lynch China
economist Lu Ting.
Expected measures include “targeted” cuts in the amount of funds banks must place in reserve, speeding up development projects and quicker fiscal spending, he said in a research note.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed up 1.0 percent on Wednesday on the report.
Mainland China's two stock markets were less impressed, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index finishing 0.49 percent higher and the tech-heavy Shenzhen Composite Index gaining 0.66 percent.
US stocks earlier reacted to the report on Tuesday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 0.59 percent to 17,131.97 points and the broad-based S&P 500 up 0.75 percent at 1,998.98.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of Communications will receive the funds in equal amounts over three months through the central bank's so-called Standing Lending Facility, a tool it uses to manage short-term liquidity, Sina and analysts said.
The report follows a string of weak data for August, including a five-year low for industrial output growth and a surprise drop in imports, which have put in peril the government's target of 7.5 percent annual economic expansion for this year.
“Such a move highlights the fact that China's policymakers are sensitive to the significant weakening seen in the August activity data and the move would be in line with our call that monetary policy will be eased further to boost the economy,” Nomura said in a research note.
China's gross domestic product grew 7.5 percent year-on-year in the second quarter this year, improving from 7.4 percent in the first quarter, which was the worst since a similar 7.4 percent result in July-September 2012.
But some analysts played down the impact of the anticipated move.
“The impact of such a move on boosting corporate investment and supporting real economic growth will be relatively limited in our view, as the property downturn continues to worsen, excess capacity accumulates and business outlook remains weak,” said Wang Tao, head of China economic research at investment bank UBS.
Analysts said the scale of the injection was equivalent to around a 0.50 percentage point cut in the reserve requirements for banks, the amount of funds they are required to set aside.
“We expect monetary conditions to loosen modestly, which will provide some much-needed support for demand growth,” Goldman Sachs said in a research note.
Although further measures are anticipated, analysts said, some rejected the possibility of China cutting reserve requirements across the board or slashing interest rates.
China's central bank set up the Standing Lending Facility in 2013 to meet liquidity demands from banks, typically from a one- to three-month period, using it in both June and September last year, as well as in January.
The PBoC only reports use of the lending facility on a quarterly basis.
Rates of iron ore went up sharply in a price discovery auction conducted by Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) earlier this month, causing anxiety among traders.
OMC conducts auction for iron ore every three months to discover the price at which steel makers having no captive mines buy from it. In the price setting auction conducted last week, Electrosteel Steels Ltd, a Kolkata-based firm, had quoted Rs 5,100 per tonne for high-grade sized iron ore, surpassing previous highest quote of Rs 4,455 per tonne in 2010-11.
The quoted price is nearly 45% more than the highest selling price of Rs 3,526 per tonne in the previous quarter (July-September) and 62% higher than the benchmark price in the quarter before that (April-June).
According to the auction rule, the highest quoted price is the benchmark rate for that particular quarter and all buyers have to procure the raw material at this price. Local steel producers alleged that OMC violated its own rule by allowing Electrosteel to participate in the auction, as the company already had a captive iron ore mine. They demanded cancellation of the auction.
"Participants such as Electrosteel, which mentions on its website about having own coal and iron ore mines in Jharkhand, are barred from participating in OMC auction. But surprisingly, OMC allowed it to take part. The speculative price quoted by the Kolkata-based firm resulted in sharp rise in the benchmark rate for other iron ore buyers," said Ranjan Mishra, a senior official of Visa Steel, a regular participant in the OMC auction.
Steel makers having access to captive raw material facility can afford to quote astronomical prices when they have problems in obtaining raw material from their own sites, he added.
The auction participants have demanded that since the price quoted by Electrosteel is invalid, the second highest bid price of Rs 3,800 per tonne should be considered as the benchmark price for October-December quarter.
OMC officials said they are looking into the allegations made against the company.
"We have asked the mines department of Jharkhand government to clarify the position of captive iron ore mine of Electrosteel and till then the company will not be allowed to lift iron ore from us. We have also sent officers to inspect the plant of the company in question," said an official of OMC involved in the process.
The mining agency said there was no plan to cancel the bid price quoted by the company, as one buyer has already been allotted iron ore at the said price.
"Neelachal Ispat has already been issued some quantity of iron ore at Rs 5,100 per tonne, so there is no question of rolling back the price. We might go for another auction if we feel the need for it," the official said.
An oversupplied global iron ore market may find some relief from an unlikely source as former No.3 exporter India turns into a big importer due to a cutback in domestic production.
The country may ship in up to 45 million tonnes over the next three years as home-grown iron ore output falls short of domestic steel production needs, an executive at an influential industry group said.
India imported just 0.37 million tonnes of the steelmaking raw material in 2013/14, government data showed. But already JSW Steel, India's third-largest maker of the alloy, has said it will import 6 million tonnes of iron ore in 2014/15 against zero a year earlier.
"There's no option but to import to meet the shortfall. We're looking at between 10 and 15 million tonnes every fiscal year over the next three years," Basant Poddar, vice president of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries, the only industry group for mining firms in the country, told Reuters by phone.
"The mine closures all over India, starting from Karnataka, Goa, Odisha and Jharkhand, have created a massive disruption to supply," Poddar said.
Mining in the key iron ore states of Karnataka and Goa was banned in 2011 and 2012, respectively, following a crackdown on illegal mining by the Supreme Court and the government. Several mines in top producing Odisha state and in Jharkhand too were closed this year following government-imposed restrictions on the renewal of mining licenses.
While the bans have since been lifted, delays in restarting mining operations in Goa and Karnataka and the latest mine closures in the other states have limited local iron ore supply.
The disruptions have cut India's iron ore production to 152 million tonnes in the year ended March 31, from about 218 million in 2009/10, according to the Indian Bureau of Mines.
The prospect of higher demand from India comes at an opportune time for global iron ore miners, whose margins have been shrunk by a 40 percent slump in iron ore prices this year.
Iron ore fell to $81.90 a tonne last week, its lowest since September 2009.
The bulk of India's imports may come from Australia and South Africa, said Poddar, and unlikely from Brazil where shipments are usually made in big vessels. "Indian ports are not geared to handle large vessels," he said.
But the potential import volume won't be enough to absorb the total projected global surfeit. Morgan Stanley, which sees a global surplus of 79 million tonnes this year doubling to 158 million tonnes in 2015, expects the price to drop to $70.
In addition, any relief from Indian demand may be temporary, as the domestic shortage is due to government policy measures that could eventually be reversed.
For the present, resuming operations has been slow due to the long bureaucratic route to renew mining leases, said Poddar.
Only 22 mines out of 122 that are eligible to restart in Karnataka have resumed operations, said Poddar who owns Mineral Enterprises Ltd which has five mines in the state that have a combined capacity of 1.2 million tonnes but have remained shut. Mines in Goa have not reopened.
In Odisha, around a third of 56 iron ore mines are still closed and in Jharkhand, the third biggest producer in the past fiscal year, 12 out of 17 mines are shut.
India used to be the world's No.3 iron ore exporter until higher costs along with the mining bans slashed shipments by 85 percent, or 100 million tonnes, over the past two years.
Amid the shortage in local supply, iron ore prices in India are defying the global weakness.
In Odisha, 63 percent grade iron ore would cost about $105 a tonne, including taxes and the royalty, to export, way above the current global market price of $67-$68, said Dhruv Goel, managing partner at industry consultancy SteelMint.
But miners make a profit of $15-$20 a tonne selling the same grade to local steelmakers, said Goel.
"It is certainly profitable to sell in the domestic market."
* Chinese steel mills may restock ahead of Oct break
* Spot prices jump 4 pct Monday, biggest gain since March
* India may import up to 45 mln T iron ore in three years
By Manolo Serapio Jr
SINGAPORE, Sept 16 (Reuters) - China's iron ore futures
stretched gains to a third day running on Tuesday, backed by
expectations Chinese steel mills would replenish stockpiles
ahead of a long holiday next month.
Spot iron ore prices soared nearly 4 percent on Monday in
their sharpest single-day gain since March, sparking hopes of a
recovery in a market hit hard this year by abundant supply.
"There should be some restocking because holidays are coming
and that might be the fundamental support for this market for
now," said an iron ore trader in Shanghai.
China's markets will be shut on Oct. 1-7 for the National
Iron ore for January delivery on the Dalian Commodity
Exchange, the most-traded contract, was up 0.3 percent
at 598 yuan ($97) a tonne by midday, after rising more than 1
percent on Monday.
Strong gains in China's spot steel prices over the weekend
as some buyers restocked helped the iron ore market regain
footing, lifting prices for spot iron ore cargoes, traders said.
Iron ore for immediate delivery to China .IO62-CNI=SI
climbed 3.9 percent to $85.20 a tonne on Monday, according to
data provider Steel Index. The price hit $81.90 last week, the
lowest since September 2009.
The oversupplied iron ore market may find some relief from
expectations that India, once a big iron ore exporter, may
import up to 45 million tonnes of the steelmaking commodity over
the next three years.
Mining curbs had slashed India's iron ore output and forced
steelmakers such as JSW Steel to source the raw
But some traders were uncertain on whether the upward
momentum would be sustained.
"I think prices went down too fast and yesterday they went
up too fast," said another Shanghai-based trader.
"Good thing is we don't have much cargo in hand because it's
not easy to sell as the market becomes choppy."
Stockpiles of imported iron ore at China's ports rose by
800,000 tonnes to 112.05 million tonnes as of Sept. 12,
SH-TOT-IRONINV according to SteelHome which tracks the data.
The inventory hit a record high of 113.7 million tonnes in early
While a steep decline in iron ore prices had shut some
higher cost producers, including those in China, the country's
output continued to rise, with production in August up 4 percent
from a year ago to 136.6 million tonnes.
That brought output for the first eight months of the year
to 986 million tonnes, up 8.5 percent.
After weeks of relentless selling benchmark iron ore prices soared on Monday, enjoying the strongest one-day gains in more than a year.
Northern China 62% Fe imports tracked by The SteelIndex jumped $3.20 or 3.9% to trade at $85.20 a tonne, lifting the the steelmaking raw material off a string of five-year lows set this month.
After hitting a high of $158.90 in February, the industry was jolted on March 10, when iron ore suffered the worst one-day decline since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, cratering 8.3% in a single session.
The recovery from there was swift, but by mid-June ore was sliding again and quickly became a one way bet as the market fretted about a flood of new supply just as demand in top consumer China slowed.
The price of iron ore remains 36.5% weaker than at the start of the year, but some analysts believe the drop may have been overdone.
Even including freight, insurance costs and royalties, the final cost for the majors rises to only around $50 – $60 a tonne into China
The Wall Street Journal reports Morgan Stanley believes prices could drop as low as $70 but the investment banks sees "cost support" at between $90 to $100 a tonne.
Morgan Stanley believes the price "may rebound towards $90 per tonne by the end of year as China’s seasonal demand typically weakens, before picking up again in the fourth quarter.":
"We are of the firm belief that an adequate proportion of supply from the top end of the cost curve will come out, flatten the curve and ultimately secure levels of cost support."
Last week investment bank Goldman cut its price forecasts by $10 to an average $80 a tonne next year, but predicted only $1 a tonne declines over the next two years.
The steep declines in the price is as a result of a surge in low cost supply, particularly from Australia. Monthly iron ore volumes shipped through Port Hedland hit a new record in August after rising 38% year on year.
Australian producers, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue, plan to add 170 million tonnes of output this year, about 7% of global supply in 2013 and about 11% of global production outside China.
Supply from Australia could jump again next year when Gina Rinehart's $10 billion Roy Hill project starts shipping 55 million tonnes-a-year.
At the same time top iron ore miner Vale is ramping up output in Brazil from the massive expansion of its Carajás complex, while Anglo American is nearing production at its 26 million tonne per year Minas-Rio project in the country.
Goldman's report which came out last week estimates that due to "the structural nature of the surplus and a weak demand outlook in China make a recovery in prices unlikely." The bank's research points to the global glut tripling to 163 million tonnes in 2015 from 52 million tonnes this year, and jump again to 245 million tonnes in 2016 and 295 million tonnes in 2017.
A slow response from miners could pressure prices below marginal cost for a period
The majors can still make money at these prices – ore from the Pilbara region is estimated to cost just $20-25 per tonne to extract while Vale is progressing with its target of production costs below $20 a tonne.
Even including freight and insurance costs and royalties, the final cost rises to only around $50 – $60 a tonne into China and $10 – $15 on top of that via the longer route from Brazil.
In August, Sam Walsh, CEO of Rio said he expects 125 million tonnes of high-cost iron ore supply to be taken out of the market this year, as the lower price forces out low-grade Chinese mines and smaller producers cut output.
The SteelIndex quotes Ian Roper, an analyst at the investment bank CLSA, believes as much as 200 million tonnes could exit the market by the second quarter of next year. A further 115 million tonnes of additional cuts may be required through 2016-2017 to achieve balance, but "a slow response from miners could pressure prices below marginal cost for a period."
Last week Australian 3 million tonne per year producer Western Desert Resources called in administrators.
Western Desert follows others which have fallen by the wayside including Sweden's Northland Resources, Australia's Cairn Hill and Canada's Labrador Iron Mines. West African iron ore producers like African Minerals and London Mining are also struggling to ride out the price slump.
Demand in China for high-quality ore is still strong. The country imported 8.5% more ore in August than a year earlier, but total imports for the year – expected to grow by less than 50 million tonnes – would simply be swamped by the additional tonnage.
Shipping sector looking up
September 15, 2014
Iron ore is heading for an end-of-year rally as some high-cost supplies are closed and steel demand picks up, according to Morgan Stanley, which said prices may first extend losses by a few more dollars before rebounding.
The steel-making raw material will drop into the $70s-a-ton range in the near term, then rally toward $90 a ton by the end of the year, analyst Joel Crane said in a report today. The commodity, which slumped to the lowest level in five years this month, last traded at less than $80 a ton in September 2009.
Iron ore fell into a bear market this year as the biggest producers including Rio Tinto Group expanded low-cost output, betting higher volumes would more than offset falling prices while less-competitive mines were forced to close. Morgan Stanley’s forecast for a rally in the final quarter follows a similar prediction last week from Vale SA, the world’s largest supplier, which said prices may be poised for a rebound.
Video: Iron Ore Prices to Fall for 1-2 More Months: UBS's Morgan
“We are of the firm belief that an adequate proportion of supply from the top end of the cost curve will come out, flatten the curve and ultimately secure levels of cost support,” Crane wrote, referring to the potential loss of output from some of the highest-cost producers. The price should head back toward $90 a ton by year-end, said Crane.
Ore with 62 percent content at the Chinese port of Qingdao fell 36 percent to $85.58 a dry ton this year, according to data from Metal Bulletin Ltd. The commodity is heading for a third quarterly loss in the longest run of declines since 2009 amid forecasts for a surging global surplus.
Iron ore may rise to as much as $100 a ton by the end of the year because of declining inventory at ports, Vale Chief Executive Officer Murilo Ferreira told reporters on Sept. 12 in Beijing. Some producers are reducing exports given current prices, Ferreira said. China is the world’s largest buyer.
Video: Iron Ore Producers Target Record Shipments in 2015
In China, there’s mounting evidence locally-mined supplies are starting to drop, Morgan Stanley’s Crane wrote. Output, when adjusted to show the equivalent of 62 percent content, fell 13 percent between April and July year-on-year, he said.
“Market participants appear split on the floor price,” Australia & New Banking Group Ltd. analysts including Mark Pervan wrote in a report today. While some are “thinking the resilience of Chinese iron ore supply will see prices fall below $80 a ton, while others firmly believe domestic output can’t sustain current price levels for much longer.”
Hong Kong (Platts)--15Sep2014/606 am EDT/1006 GMT
Northeastern China imported 21.03 million mt metal ores in the first half of 2014, up 25% year on year, Chinese port operator Dalian Port (PDA) Company said in its interim report filed to Hong Kong Stock Exchange Monday, September 15.
Northeastern China comprise Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang Provinces.
The company attributed the higher import volume to the gradual stabilization of the domestic economy, with stronger demand for ores by the collateralized borrowing sector.
The metal ores the region imports include bauxite, iron ores, copper concentrates, manganese ores, zinc and lead concentrate.
•DryShips looks like a turnaround candidate after its second-quarter results, supported by its decent fundamentals.
•DryShips is seeing an increase in charter rates and this will aid its recovery.
•DryShips will also benefit from increasing demand for seaborne transportation as a result of improving economic conditions.
DryShips (NASDAQ:DRYS) has given its investors a bad time this year, with the stock down almost 28%. However, a turnaround cannot be ruled out going forward as DryShips is rapidly improving its financial performance, and the conditions in the industry indicate that things can get better for the shipping company.
A turnaround supported by decent fundamentals
The signs of a turnaround can be clearly seen in how the company performed last quarter, when it surprised analysts by posting an adjusted profit of $0.01 per share while analysts were expecting a big loss of $0.06. The company displayed an impressive improvement in its adjusted EBITDA, which came in at $220.5 million for the quarter as opposed to $112.3 million last year.
In addition, the company's fundamentals also appear to be in good shape. DryShips looks cheap at a forward P/E of only 9.29. In addition, its price to sales ratio is just 0.76. Moreover, DryShips' cash flow also looks strong, with the company having generated $439 million in operating cash flow over the previous year. The expected improvements in DryShips' performance is also seen in analysts' sentiments. In the next five years, it is projected that the shipper will improve its bottom line at a CAGR of 10%. In comparison, its earnings have declined at a rate of more than 50% in the last five-year period.
Improving conditions will aid the turnaround
DryShips has executed well on several fronts, and industry conditions indicate that its robust execution will allow it to deliver improved results. For instance, its financial results are improving due to high utilization rates in the drilling rig segment. Moreover, a rise in average daily time charter equivalent levels on the tanker vessels from $10,000 per day to $16,000 per day has helped it improve its EBITDA level.
Looking ahead, DryShips expects to see a sustained increase in the rates for Aframax and Suezmax tankers. In addition, the average daily TCE levels for the drybulk segment are expected to remain steady in comparison to the previous quarters, primarily due to the time charter coverage for the bulk of its Capesize fleet and the spot rates for the Panamax fleet.
Moreover, DryShips' subsidiary, Ocean Rig, is also performing well. Ocean Rig recently entered into a six year definitive agreement for drilling operations offshore Angola. Also, Ocean Rig has signed another drilling contract for one of its semi-submersibles, the Eirik Raude, for drilling offshore the Falkland Islands.
DryShips has considerable leverage to the drybulk and tanker spot markets, and healthy developments in these sectors will help the company generate robust cash flow. Going forward, the shipping major is keen on implementing its strategy to operate both its dry and wet vessels on the spot market to benefit from sustainable recovery in these markets. Also, an increase in average charter rates at a rate of $20,000 per day is expected to add $133 million and $316 million of additional EBITDA to its shipping segment in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
anticipating higher BDI
In his macro forecast, Mavrinac leans heavily on an outlook for more incremental iron ore production coming online in Australia and Brazil through to the end of 2015, while additional vessel supply remains muted at less than 5% per year.
“We believe the dry bulk shipping market is likely to experience its biggest vessel shortage in 2014/2015 since 2006/2007, as a result of accelerating dry bulk shipping demand growth and slowing dry bulker fleet growth,” Mavrinac wrote. “In fact, we estimate that the dry bulk shipping market is likely to be 215 panamax-equivalent vessels short in 2014 and another 241 panamax-equivalent vessels short in 2015.
“We believe the dry bulk shipping cyclical recovery will likely last until at least 2016... and possibly longer.”
The seaborne iron ore market finally took back gains Friday after a steady period of weakening, tracking a small flow of buying interest ahead of the Chinese holidays and a slight boost in steel prices.
Platts assessed the 62% Fe IODEX at $83.50/dry mt CFR North China, up $0.75/dmt from Thursday.
Some industry participants felt there might be a slight pick-up in buying soon as some Chinese mills needed to restock ahead of the National Day holidays at the start of October.
"Some mills are starting to inquire about cargoes for the holiday period, but they're still pretty cautious for now," a source from a state-owned trading house said.
A trader in Beijing said they were also looking for cargoes in order to stock up to resell to buyers: "There are more people seeking cargoes today, that's for sure."
Another Beijing-based trader concurred, saying a "small rebound" before a major industry conference in Dalian and the National Day holidays was very normal.
Several sources also said there was stronger demand for spot materials as some buyers were coming back to replenish their inventories after the previous softening.
"There were earlier expectations that iron ore prices would recover once they neared the $80/dmt level, so I'm not surprised that buyers are coming out to replenish now," a source at a major state-owned mill in eastern China said.
There was also a recovery in the steel rebar futures market Friday, after prices had fallen quite significantly over the trading week. The most liquid January contract in Shanghai last traded at Yuan 2,790/mt ($454/mt), up Yuan 33/mt from Thursday, and settled at Yuan 2,771/mt, up Yuan 7/mt on the day.
Bullish sentiment also spread to the billet market where the spot square billet price in Tangshan gained Yuan 10/mt on the day to Yuan 3,370/mt ($548.25/mt) ex stock, a steelmaker said.
"Steel is more stable today so there is a slightly better [market] atmosphere," a trader in Singapore said.
Iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange remained rangebound, with the most actively traded January contract closing at closed at Yuan 591/dmt ($96.25/mt), up Yuan 6/mt from Thursday, and settling at Yuan 589/dmt, up Yuan 4/mt on the day.