Spot rates for capesize bulkers have surpassed the $40,000 per day level, leading equities analysts to upsize their expectations for the sector this year. Baltic Exchange panellists on Friday added a further $1,019 per day to their assessment of the capesize 5TC, the weighted average of spot rates on five key routes. The assessment reached $40,608 per day, its highest level since November 2010.

Arrow Shipbroking Group observed on Friday that there has not been a single 5TC capesize assessment below $10,000 for the past 300 days. The last time the segment saw such a long-lived winning streak was in 2011, Arrow said in a LinkedIn update. The futures market saw 5TC contracts for 2022 trade at levels of over $20,000 per day during trading on Friday morning in London. Brokers believe that the rush of longer-term positive sentiment has come to the market on the back of Brazilian miner Vale’s announcement this week that it will aim to produce 450m tonnes of iron ore annually by the end of 2022.

Pricing of capesize forward freight agreements for 2022 and 2023 has seen sluggish growth in comparison to front-end contracts, which have been trading rapidly. The May contract was trading at levels of around $42,000 per day as of midday on Friday in London. As well as the abundance of positive sentiment, a steady stream of well-priced fixtures has buoyed the physical market this week, particularly for iron-ore shipments from Western Australia bound for China. Major Australian miners appear to be trying to ship as much product as possible before the end of the fiscal year and while iron-ore prices remain high, broker Freight Investor Services said on Thursday in a report about physical market. The Baltic’s Western Australia to China capesize route was assessed 5 cents higher on Friday at $13.241 per tonne, its priciest level since mid-December 2013.

Equities analysts at Clarksons Platou Securities have responded to the bull run in dry freight markets by raising expectations for the across the bulker sector. “We are boosting our capesize rate forecast as the market has strengthened materially over the past several weeks,” analysts Frode Morkedal and Omar Nokta said in a research note on Friday. “Strong steel demand globally has boosted iron-ore trade and the outlook has improved dramatically.” The analysts said they expect capesize rates to average $26,000 per day in 2021 and at around the same level in 2022 and 2023.

Rates in the capesize market will remain firm for the next two or three years on the back of “limited newbuilding capacity“, they added.

The team forecasts that panamax rates will average $19,000 per day this year and that supramaxes will earn about $18,000 per day. These rate expectations will also hold flat during 2022 and 2023, the analysts added in the note.

“These rate levels are transformational for dry bulk owners and are likely to put continued upwards pressure on vessel values and company NAVs [net asset values],” Morkedal and Nokta added.